Meal Makeover: Iced Coffee Anyone?

The hottest days of the year are here, and what’s better than a refreshing iced coffee to keep you on your toes? While it’s nice to get a mid-day jolt from your favorite frappuccino, it’s also important to choose your drinks wisely, especially if you have diabetes.

You might not realize it, but drinking extra calories can lead to weight gain. And iced lattes and blended coffee drinks can be high in calories, carbohydrates, and saturated fat. Below, we’ve listed a few basic tips for ordering a better cold coffee drink, along with the best and worst choices from some common restaurants. These tips will come in handy next time you're on the road and in need of a cup of joe, or even if you're just meeting a friend for coffee.

Simple Tips to Ordering a Better Drink

  • Cut calories simply by ordering a smaller size. For example, going from a 16-ounce grande drink to a 12-ounce tall will cut calories by 25%.
  • Stay away from high-calorie cream and whole milk in your drink. Ask for your order to be made with skim (nonfat) or 1% milk to keep calories and saturated fat low.
  • Hold the whip cream. This could save you 50-100 calories. 
  • Ask if there is a sugar-free syrup option for your drink. This will help you lower the carb content, as well as calories.

At Starbucks

The 16-ounce (grande) Java Chip Frappuccino made with the whole milk and whipped cream has 460 calories, 12 grams of saturated fat, and 72 grams of carbohydrate. This drink is more of a milkshake than an iced coffee! If you just have to have a blended drink, opt for one of the Light Frappuccinos, like:

  • A 16-ounce Light Caramel Frappuccino or Light Vanilla Frappuccino for 180 calories, 0 grams of saturated fat, and 40 grams of carbohydrate.
  • For even less carbohydrate, try the Light Coffee Frappuccino for 110 calories, 0 grams of saturated fat, and 24 grams of carbohydrate.

The iced lattes made with nonfat milk and regular iced coffee are also great options. You could try:

  • A 16-ounce Iced Vanilla Latte made with nonfat milk has 160 calories, 0 grams of saturated fat, and 31 grams of carbohydrate.
  • A 16-ounce Iced Skinny Latte is an even better choice, and has just 80 calories, 0 grams of saturated fat, and 12 grams of carbohydrate.
  • A plain 16-ounce Iced Coffee or Iced Caffé Americano for fewer than 20 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrate.

At McDonalds

The small McCafe Caramel Frappe has 450 calories, 12 grams of saturated fat, and 64 grams of carbohydrate. Instead, opt for:

  • A small Iced Caramel Mocha made with non-fat milk and no whip for 160 calories, 0 grams of saturated fat, and 32 grams of carbohydrate. 
  • Looking for something with even fewer calories and minimal carbohydrate? Try an unsweetened small Iced Coffee for just 50 calories and 2 grams of carbohydrate.

When ordering at McDonalds, make sure to specify when you want non-fat (skim) milk rather than whole milk. Otherwise, they will automatically make your drink with higher calorie whole milk. They also offer sugar-free French Vanilla syrup which you can opt for rather than full-calorie sweetener to save on carbohydrates and calories.

At Dunkin Donuts

A large iced Caramel Mocha Latte with Milk has 450 calories, 8 grams of saturated fat, and 70 calories. You can cut that all in half by simply ordering the small. Or better yet, try:

  • A small Iced Latte Lite (any flavor), for about 80 calories, 0 grams of saturated fat, and 13 grams of carbohydrate.
  • A small Iced Coffee with skim milk for 20 calories, 0 grams of saturated fat, and 3 grams of carbohydrate.

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