Holiday drinks: a source of “hidden” calories

December 22, 2022

Holiday drinks: a source of “hidden” calories

Two people cheersing with holiday drinks while wearing festive sweaters.

By Cassandra Schafer, Director of Marketing & Community Relations

That cozy drink that takes minutes to a couple hours to finish could consist of the calories of a whole meal… or two. “Liquid sugars can be a quiet culprit of diet and health issues”, Linda Bartl, Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator at Hegg Health Center, warns her patients. While this season is a time to be enjoyed, it is also a time to be mindful of choices with so many tempting options.

Let’s take a look at some of the popular holiday drinks you can get at your favorite coffee shop or at your local grocery store. They might be presented to you in a pretty decorative cup dressed in Christmas trees, red, or twinkles, making the drink all the more merrier. But beware of what’s inside – they’re not only potentially hot, they’re incredibly high in calories and sugar.

Starbuck’s Holiday Menu

Peppermint Mocha, 16oz – For mint fans, the bright and fresh taste is the star of the show in this drink. Hot, chocolatey coffee meets the mint to present a fun flavor many have come to know and love. What’s not to love about this drink is the 430 calories and 63g of sugar.

Caramel Brulee Latte, 16oz – Latte lovers adore this drink for the familiar caramel flavor. It’s not too far of a stretch from a regular latte order, but the brulee technique is just seasonal enough to make the taste festive. The lowest calorie count and sugary drink on the holiday menu, the calorie content is still quite high. The caramel brulee latte contains 400 calories and 58g of sugar.

Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, 16oz – A twist on a regular mocha, a white chocolate mocha is just as delicious as it sounds. Toasty and warm, this drink is just as delicious as it is beautiful. A whopping 420 calories and 64g of sugar in this holiday brew may just make your stomach churn.

Caribou Coffee’s Holiday Menu

Ho Ho Mint Mocha, 16oz – Similar to Starbucks’ offering of the peppermint mocha, you might feel like Santa’s favorite with this drink name. Although many of the contents are the same as the Starbucks Peppermint Mocha, there are actually even more calories in this festive drink. This one might put you into shock. The Ho Ho Mint Mocha clocks in 540 calories and 65g of sugar.

Fa La Latte Espresso, 16oz – Lo-lo lower sugar content at 24g of sugar, but fa-la latte flavor bringing in 490 calories a cup, this espresso-spiked drink will give you a merry and bright boost. But is the fat concentration worth it?

Peppermint Bark Latte, 16oz – This drink from Hegg Health Center’s Bistro 67 consists of Peppermint Bark coffee creamer paired with black coffee. Though the drink is a simple blend, you might find it’s as delicious as it is low-calorie. This popular local drink is only 110 calories with 20g of sugar. Although the sugar content is high, it meets the daily limit for most adults – so if you’re in the mood for something sweet, you can confidently make this drink your sugar choice for the day.

Drinks from the grocery store

Eggnog, 16oz – You either love it or hate it. Rich and creamy, eggnog is best enjoyed chilled. This dairy-based beverage is 398 calories and 36g of sugar. Not the healthiest holiday option.

Hot chocolate, 16oz – Nothing like a warm cocoa on a wintery day. A cup of the arguably most popular holiday drink will cost 352 calories and 44g of sugar.

Adding alcohol, whipped cream, or any other additions to spice up any of these choices will of course increase the caloric expense. Watch out for those calories in drinks and minimize your sugar intake. If you prefer indulging in dinner and dessert dishes, you may want to dial it down on the festive drinks.

This time of year can make it difficult to stay in control of your diet. To speak with a professional and find healthier alternatives for your daily diet, visit with Hegg’s Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator, Linda Bartl by calling 712-476-8065. The New Year provides the perfect time for a fresh start when it comes to your health goals.