Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Made Nice

I am a girl who loves to run and loves to keep active. Whether its kayaking, pond skating(!!), hiking, biking, or walking to a nearby coffee shop, I do my job to keep fit. But I also love to eat… and drink. And like most runners, I am cautious about what and how much I consume. Sometimes, however, I throw the what right out of the window, like every September when pumpkin spice lattes are back in season. If you are like me and love pumpkin spice but don’t love the calories, I have a few tips for you.

1. Know what you’re drinking. 
Spend ten minutes and browse the nutrition section on the Starbucks website. Find out not only how much calories, but how much sugar and fat are in your favorite drinks. For example, a grande 2% pumpkin spice latte with whipped cream has 380 calories and 50 grams of sugar! (There are only 4.2 grams in a teaspoon of sugar.)

2. Cut the whipped cream, you don’t need it. 
The drink is sweet and milky enough as is. Save whipped cream when you’re trying to sweeten up a snack like strawberries. You just saved 60 calories, but we’re not done.

3. Go fat free. 
I wouldn’t always suggest this, since in a normal latte or cappuccino I think the milk makes all the difference. However, when something is as sugary as this drink your taste buds won’t even know you tricked them. This tip just saved another 50 calories, bringing the drink to a total of 260 calories.

4. Go one pump.
In a normal grande pumpkin spice latte there are three pumps of pumpkin spice flavoring. Each pump has 30 calories. Cutting the pumps, though, actually does change the tatse of the latte. Unlike the above tricks, if you order one pump you’re probably going to be disappointed.

5. Latte-less.
To get my pumpkin spice fix, I usually order a plain iced coffee with one pump of pumpkin spice flavoring. It’s delicious and WAY less caloric (around 50 calories in the whole drink), and you still get that sweet pumpkin flavor that reminds you it’s fall!

6. Don't be fooled.
Like I said before, I am not only cautious about how much I eat, but what I eat. If you like sugar in your coffee, have it! Just don’t drink it as often or maybe have a half of a cookie with it instead of a whole one.  Whatever you do, DON’T use artificial sweeteners or sugar-free syrups. They may be less caloric, but many studies show that artificial sweeteners can be just as bad as sugar when it comes to how it affects your weight. Your best bet is to use unrefined sugar if you can, but unfortunately you can’t get a pump of pumpkin spice made with unrefined sugar because it doesn't exist. So be smart about it. Don’t make a grande pumpkin spice latte part of your morning routine, but you can bet that when I wake up on my birthday in October it will be the first thing I get!

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