Whether you’re meeting up with a friend, need a quiet spot to do some work or you are just taking a break from your busy day, you may occasionally (or maybe even frequently) stop in your local coffee shop. Of course, while you’re there you’ll likely enjoy a beverage and maybe even a snack. Although there are a lot of reasonable choices at most coffee shops, there are also some snacks and drinks that you should steer clear of. With just a little bit of forethought and preparation, you can make some decisions in advance about what you plan to order and prevent any diet damage.
Flavored syrups, cream, half-and-half, whole milk and whipped cream are some of the coffee beverage add-ins that can really begin to derail the health factor of your drink. While a coffee-style drink with fat-free, low-fat or soy milk isn’t going to have much fat or calories, sugary or creamy add-ins, do.
In general, you should also steer clear of blended drinks which are usually packed with sugar. It’s also best to avoid hot chocolate or fruit juices, which also tend to be high in calories. Instead, opt for an unsweetened iced tea, a bottle of water or a cup of hot tea. Even a cappuccino, espresso or latte—served with fat-free milk—is a much better choice.
In addition to enjoying a beverage, you may also plan to order a snack or a breakfast item. Baked goods are a very common diet trap at coffee shops and you’ll want to be careful to avoid choices such as coffee cake, croissants, Danishes or doughnuts. If you’re really craving a pastry-style snack, try a piece of biscotti or even some toast topped with sugar-free jam. That will still give you a sweet fix without tons of added calories.
If you’re stopping in for a light lunch, avoid the cream-based soups and the croissant sandwiches and instead opt for a broth-based soup, some yogurt or a granola bar. It’s also best to choose a piece of whole grain toast over a bagel.
While a quick stop in the coffee shop doesn’t seem like it could do much harm, the truth is that those little snacks and treats can add up. Oftentimes people don’t even realize just how often they swing into the coffee shop or pull through its drive-through until they sit down and really look at the days they were there in a month. It could be more than you realize.
With coffee shops also popping up in many all-in-one stores, it’s so easy to grab a drink while you shop. But making the right choice is critical to keeping your healthy eating regimen on track. There’s no reason you can’t still enjoy a nice coffee break while also sticking to your plan. By giving it a little bit of thought and avoiding impulse decisions, you can absolutely have the best of both worlds.
Check out this handy guide to better understand what you should order and avoid while at the local coffee shop: