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Choosing your specialty hot beverage this holiday season

boisson chaude du temps des fêtes

The cold weather is here, and everyone wants to keep warm! What could be better than a hot drink? Several restaurant chains, including Starbucks and McDonald’s, have unveiled their holiday beverage menu, and there’s plenty to tantalize the taste buds. Here’s how to make a healthier, informed choice:

1. The Sugar

Flavoured syrups, especially vanilla, chocolate and hazelnut syrups, account for the majority of the sugar in hot chocolates and coffees. The chart below shows the amount of sugar in some of Starbucks’ Christmas Grande Caffe Lattes (473 ml):


Caramel Brûlé Latte*

Chesnut Praline Latte*

 Eggnog Latte 

Gingerbread Latte*

Eggnog Chai Latte

Sugar (g)






*Contain sugar-sweetened whipped cream

These lattes contain the equivalent of 10 to 16 tsps of sugar. However, the World Health Organization recommends consuming less than 10% of the daily energy intake form sugars, and even reducing it to less than 5%, being 25 to 50 g (6 to 13 tsps) of sugar per day for a person consuming a 2000-calorie daily diet.

TIP #1 : In order to reduce your sugar intake, ask for half the syrup! That great taste will still be there. Try it!

2. The Fat

Whipped cream accounts for most of the fat in these beverages. It’s only used as garnish on some hot chocolates and flavoured coffees. For example, Gingerbread Latte (Starbucks) made with 2% milk, minus the whipped cream, contains half the fat of its whipped cream version.

TIP #2 : Be bold, try these lattes without the whipped cream from time to time!

3. The Calories

The ingredients used in sugary drinks provide a significant amount of calories. For example, a McDonald’s Peppermint Mocha contains between 210 and 350 calories (small and large respectively), similar to its Starbucks counterpart. Although it packs as many calories as a snack or a small meal, it does not satisfy your hunger.

TIP #3 : Reducing the size of the beverage makes it possible to enjoy more reasonably.

4. The Pleasure

Endulging in a Christmas beverage is part of the holiday tradition for many. Focusing solely on nutritional value can spoil the pleasure and cause guilt instead. It’s simply a question of finding the right balance between pleasure and healthy eating.

TIP #4 : Your Nautilus Plus nutritionist can help you find the perfect balance!


References :

McDonald’s. Nutrition Calculator. [on line]. https://www.mcdonalds.com/ca/en-ca/about-our-food/nutrition-calculator.html (Page viewed November 23, 2019).

Starbucks. Starbucks Nutrition Data. [En ligne]. https://www.starbucks.ca/menu/nutrition-info (Page viewed November 20, 2019).

World Health Organization. Reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to reduce the risk of unhealthy weight gain in adults. [on line]. https://www.who.int/elena/titles/ssbs_adult_weight/en/ (Page viewed November 23, 2019).

Maude Martinez

A foodie from a very young age, Maude has always enjoyed discovering new flavours and new recipes. A graduate of Université de Montréal in 2016 and a member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec, Maude has been a member of the Nautilus team since 2018. She is passionate about food chemistry, a subject she actually taught in CEGEP, and sports nutrition, which was the topic of many of her conferences. She thoroughly enjoys jogging and goes on regular hikes in order to stay active. What she wishes to instill in all her clients is that, healthly food choices don’t have to be complicated to be appealing and satisfying. Cooking and eating must always remain simple pleasures in life!

Choosing your specialty hot beverage this holiday season is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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