Now that summer is in full swing I find myself venturing out and strolling around downtown during my lunch break. This is where my place of work is located, in the hub of eateries, boutiques, banks and office spaces. When noon hour hits everyone spills out of buildings and onto the sidewalks. I am among them. It feels good to stretch out the legs, feel the sunshine on my face and get more blood pumping into different areas of my body. Nearing the end of my break my next goal is grab a take-out cup of my favorite brew to bring back to my desk. I am not alone on this one. You will find at 12:45 p.m. coffee shops are lined up past the door with antsy customers desperately seeking that hit of dopamine. Baristas are working like mad shouting out the detailed description of each and every order. We must have our coffee to help us finish the day!
With the warmer weather I have also observed that iced coffees are a popular choice. I am going to bet you regularly see some of your colleagues in possession of one of these cold, sweet caffeinated drinks. They are a favourite item in my office. I am very particular when it comes to cold refreshments as they often are loaded with sugar. I used to think iced coffee only had two ingredients: coffee and ice. But not everyone enjoys the bitter taste of coffee so in order to open up the market it had to be sweeter to be embraced. Iced coffees can be easily loaded with desserty-like flavours and ingredients such as whipped cream and caramel sauce making it less like a drink and more like a ice cream sundae.
Many people believe they are just drinks and don’t take into account how many grams of sugar they contain. Let’s evaluate three popular iced coffee drinks in my neighborhood: Tim Horton’s, McDonald’s and Starbucks and see how many grams of sugar in each one. Keep in mind that 4 grams equals 1 teaspoon.
- A medium-sized Iced Capp has 47 grams of sugar. http://www.timhortons.com/ca/en/menu/nutrition-and-wellness-search.php#
- A medium-sized McCafe Iced Coffee has 30 grams of sugar http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/product_nutrition.mccafe.80002.premium-roast-iced-coffee-small.html
– A Grande Starbucks Iced Coffee has 20 grams of sugar http://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/brewed-coffee/iced-coffee
Would you put this much sugar in your morning cup of coffee? Probably not. If your child loves these iced coffee treats but hates coffee it is because of all the sugar dumped in them. Having one of these drinks every so often is not a big deal but I know people who drink them every day, sometimes twice a day. Imagine how many grams of sugar are being racked up in one week!
So I decided to experiment making my own that way I can control how much sugar is in it. I love chocolate and I love coffee so an iced mocha it is!
2 cups of strong brewed coffee (cooled)
½ tsp. of vanilla
3/4 cup of unsweetened chocolate almond milk or chocolate soy milk
1 tsp. of cocoa powder or cocoa
3/4 tsp. of Stevia or 1 1/2 tsp. of honey (not creamed and works best when melted in warm coffee
1 couple dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg
Pulse three times. Pour in cups and add more ice. Makes 2 servings.
If you like vanilla flavor then use vanilla-flavored almond milk or soy milk. There is also vanilla-flavored Stevia. Skip the cocoa too.
Another tip is adding Bailey’s or Irish Crème liquor (Ok maybe not during work but who am I to judge?)
When my hubby gets a craving for a milkshake or an ice cream treat I whip up my iced mocha coffee and blend in a big scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream (keep in mind that ice cream brands vary in the grams of sugar). I sprinkle some chocolate shavings on top. He loves them! It tastes like a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino without the 61 grams of sugar! http://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/frappuccino-blended-beverages/mocha-frappuccino-blended-beverage
Hot weather and cold drinks go hand in hand but we can still make healthy choices. You are always better off making your own summer treats as you have control over what goes in it. Cheers!