Winter is upon us. At least it will be, officially, after Monday’s winter solstice. If you frequently feel frozen to the bone during the four months starting in December, I have a few warming suggestions for you. Buy a car with heated seats, buy one of those new-fangled heated puffy vests with a battery pack, or wrap your ice-cold mittened fingers around a toasty beverage. Option 3 costs less, but unfortunately, has calories. The good news is that with curated choices you can get yourself warmed up quickly in the Starbucks drive-through without doing too much nutritional damage.
That’s what I’m here for. To share my 3 dietitian-approved sips to get you through until spring, in order from lowest to highest calories. They range from just 110 to 190 for a grande.
Grande Blonde Roast
+2 Pumps Caramel Syrup
This option fits the bill when you feel like treating yourself to a midday pick-me-up to warm you up, but only have 100 calories to spend. For the record, I’m making an educated guess on how much an “extra” splash of soymilk actually is. In the Starbucks app when you select add-ins it gives you the option of a splash of creamer, almond milk, or the like with these sizes:
I’m officially guessing 3-4 ounces for extra. But if there are any baristas reading this, feel free to set me straight and I’ll update my numbers if my guess is way off. I’m also betting there’s some individual variation in how heavy-handed a splash can be from day to day, barista to barista, cup to cup.
Simply replace the caramel syrup with hazelnut syrup for a delicious variation of this drink to add to your winter repertoire. That means when you’re done reading this article you’ll have not 3, but 4 new ideas!
Grande Blonde Cappuccino with Soy
+2 Raw Sugar
This drink very nearly approaches wintertime perfection. The blonde roast takes away some of the bitterness and together with the creamy soy and sweet sugar, serves up a simple, satisfying swallow.
Grande Traditional Misto with Soy
+1 Pump Toasted White Chocolate sauce
+1 Pump Peppermint Syrup
This is a blatant attempt to enjoy a toasted white chocolate mocha without consuming an appalling 420 calories. Remember, most of us are working with a budget of around 1800 to 2400 total calories per day. Using 23% of them on a single beverage feels frivolously spendy, especially if you can be satisfied with a perfectly lovely alternative.
A misto is actually a menu item I was unfamiliar with, until recently. Nothing fancy; just equal parts coffee and milk, so there’s no espresso but plenty of caffeine. An important note: even if you order this with soy, you’ll get a little milk in the bargain. It’s one of the ingredients in the toasted white chocolate sauce.
Considering I’m a dietitian and not a doctor, I’m not actually sure how efficiently you can warm up a human person’s core temperature with 16 fluid ounces of the 165-degree liquids listed above. But it sure feels toasty as you hold the steaming cup in your hands and as you swallow the hot brown liquid. So even if the effect is insufficient or fleeting, I know I’ll be grateful for a few minutes of perceived heat that tastes wonderful and doesn’t break the calorie bank.
Do you have any other suggestions for me? What warms you up this time of year?