Comfort foods may be tempting during the winter, and we recognize those heavy and calorie-dense foods may be an indulgence.
But we often forget about the calories we are drinking. Last week’s freezing rain and bone piercing temperatures is all the excuse we needed to make a big cup of hot chocolate or grab a sensory-inducing latte. Problem is, they’re usually filled with dozens of grams of sugar and a few grams of fat, which all equal to plenty of calories. A 12-ounce drink that is equivalent to a slice of pie may not be what you intended. Drink a few cups a week and that equals weight gain.
A few hundred calories are acceptable if you’re eating a healthy meal and you get full. But when you mindlessly drink 300 to 400 calories, those calories, grams of sugar and fat add up pretty quickly.
The point is not to avoid these flavorful drinks entirely, but to be mindful that they could set you back, especially if you’re on a weight loss plan. Try some alternatives, such as a spiced hot tea, or dilute it with water or nonfat milk. Lose the whipped cream and the drizzled caramel or chocolate toppings. Make your own hot chocolate or apple cider, so that you can monitor the amount of sugar. Most importantly, think about portions. When ordering out, opt for the "short" or "tall" versus the "grande," "venti" or "trenta." And at home, stick with your standard coffee cup.
If you need your wintry pick-me-up, don’t feel bad about it. Just remember to stop at a cup and to savor it.