Pumpkin spice, maple spice, pecan, vanilla…however you take it, a good latte is delightful. A good latte can also be deceptively, unexpectedly caloric — and fattening if you are topping off your sweet drink with a touch of whipped cream. Think I’m exaggerating? Let’s get some perspective: a grande (16-ounce) Starbucks latte made with whole milk and no whipped cream packs approximately 230 calories and 12 grams of fat. If you use reduced-fat rather than whole milk, the calorie count drops to roughly 190 and the fat drops to 7 grams1. If you are a latte-a-day person, these numbers add up — and in much bigger ways if you add sugar and / or whipped cream to your latte. According to health.com, “A tall (12-ounce) Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte made with whole milk and whipped cream clocks in at 330 calories with 15 grams of fat and 40 grams of carb — 39 of which come from sugar”. Thankfully, with a few simple swaps, you can keep the integrity of your favorite latte and ditch the expendable calories and fat.
Out and about: how to trim calories at a café
If you generally purchase your latte at a café, your calorie-reduction efforts may be limited but fear not, there are steps you can take and swaps you can make!
Assess the dairy. Feign a love of reduced-fat and non-dairy milk until you learn to like it — both have fewer calories and less fat than whole milk. If you enjoy whipped cream on your latte, ask for a dollop instead of a full top covering. You can also ask for no whipped cream and extra foam.
Flavorings. If you drink flavored lattes, such as vanilla or pumpkin spice, switch from full sugar to sugar-free syrups or drop the syrup all together and instead add natural sugar and spices, such as honey, cinnamon, cocoa powder, or maple syrup. Your local café likely has these spices and natural sugars on hand.
Cup size. Yes, size does matter! Lattes are predominately milk and milk has calories. If you enjoy your latte exactly as is and want to trim off some calories, simply drop your cup size.
Making magic at home: homemade lattes
If you make homemade lattes, we raise our mugs to you! If you don’t and you enjoy baking or cooking, we strongly encourage you to start. All you need is your favorite coffee, milk, a hand frother, and some imagination. Making your own lattes gives you complete control over what goes into your cup. Here are some calorie and fat-saving tips for your mugs of homemade magic.
Flavored coffees. If you enjoy flavored lattes, use a flavored coffee that matches your latte, such as Pumpkin Spice or French Vanilla coffee. The flavorings in the coffee bring a marvelous aroma and sweetness to the latte without adding extra sugar, calories, or fat.
Ditch your whipped cream for coconut cream. Both coconut milk and coconut cream can be cooled and whipped into a tasty, whipped-cream like delight. As an added bonus, researchers found that coconut milk may actually aid weight loss while supporting heart hearth. For more on that, click here.
Use a fruit puree. While you may not think of putting pumpkin or fig puree into your coffee, you can and it’s healthy AND delicious! Natural purees bring out the subtle fruit and citrus tones in coffee, are healthy, and can add extra texture to your cup. Still skeptical? Try Cindy’s Pumpkin Spice Latte made with real pumpkin puree. It’s delicious!
Add dried fruit. Dried dates and apricots make wonderful natural, high fiber sweeteners. Transforming dried fruits into a usable coffee sugar is easy. Soak the dates or apricots in water for at least one hour and then add the soaked fruit, along with a few tablespoons of water into a food processor or blender, and blend until you have a sugar paste.
Honey, maple, and spice. I know we mentioned this earlier but adding natural sweeteners to your latte instead of artificial sweeteners is worth mentioning again. Many coffees produce subtle sweet notes when brewed. Using honey, fresh maple, or a pleasing spice to sweeten your coffee accentuates and develops those notes in the cup. These natural sweeteners are also packed with health-boosting antioxidants and inflammatory properties.
If you enjoyed this entry, you may also enjoy the following: