Peppermint mochas, maple pecan swirls, eggnog lattes—'tis the season for tasty holiday coffee drinks at your corner coffee shop.

They may seem like a harmless seasonal indulgence, but with their high calorie, fat, and sugar content, you may find yourself putting on weight if you drink too many of them.

Caribou Coffee's Chocolate Caramel Truffle Mocha, for instance, has 870 calories, 53 grams of fat, and 73 grams (about 18 teaspoons) of sugars in a 16-ounce cup. That's almost half the calories some people should have in an entire day; and as much sugar as you'd get in about three Hershey's bars.


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To see just how much diet damage these drinks can do, we compared the nutrition numbers on a few 16-ounce holiday coffee drinks ordered straight off the menus with no customization at Caribou Coffee, Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's, Peet's Coffee, and Starbucks. (See chart below.)

Then our nutrition experts came up with some tips to help you turn them into more manageable indulgences. See "Make Them Healthier," below.

(If you're reading this article on your smartphone, we recommend you rotate your phone to landscape mode to better view the table below.)

Calories (all drinks are 16 oz.)Fat (g)

Saturated Fat (g)

Sugars (g)

Caribou Coffee

Chocolate Caramel Truffle Mocha, milk chocolate (2 percent milk; whipped cream)

870

53

32

73 (~18 teaspoons)

Campfire Mocha, milk chocolate (2 percent milk; whipped cream)64034

21

67 (~17 teaspoons)

Ho Ho Mint Mocha, milk chocolate (2 percent milk; whipped cream)

610

32

19

67 (~17 teaspoons)

Dunkin' Donuts

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Swirl Hot Latte (whole milk)

3509

5

53 (~13 teaspoons)

Maple Pecan Swirl Hot Latte (whole milk)

3509

5

53 (~13 teaspoons)

McDonald's

McCafe Peppermint Mocha (whole milk; whipped cream)

370

13

8

50 (~13 teaspoons)

Peet's Coffee
Eggnog Latte (eggnog)65029

20

75 (~19 teaspoons)

Peppermint White Mocha (2% milk; whipped cream)

500

17

11

66 (~17 teaspoons)

Holiday Spice Latte (2% milk)

320

7

4.5

44 (11 teaspoons)

Starbucks

Toasted White Chocolate Mocha (2% milk; whipped cream)

420

15

9

53 (~13 teaspoons)

Gingerbread Frappuccino Blended Beverage (whole milk; whipped cream)37014

9

58 (~15 teaspoons)

Chestnut Praline Latte (2% milk; whipped cream)

33013

8

39 (~10 teaspoons)

Make Them Healthier

Though we can’t turn them into health foods, if you mix and match these tips, you can shave significant calories, fat, and sugars off your holiday coffee drink.

1. Downsize. Sounds obvious, but ordering a smaller size improves the drink’s nutritional profile while still giving you the flavor you’re craving. In some cases, it will drop the drink’s calorie count below 200. For example, a Short (8 ounces) Chestnut Praline Latte at Starbucks clocks in at 190 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 21 grams of sugars. A small drink is still a treat, but it’s one that’s a lot easier to work into your diet.

2. Swap in nonfat milk. It won’t help you cut the added sugars, but it will trim calories and fat. For example, at Dunkin’ Donuts, where the default milk is whole, you save 80 calories and 9 grams of fat on a 16-ounce Brown Sugar Cinnamon Swirl Hot Latte by switching to skim. This trick won’t help, though, if the drink is created with a premade mix, as some of the eggnog lattes are.

3. Leave off the whipped cream. Not all coffee drinks come topped with whipped cream, but skipping it on the ones that do can save you about 70 to 150 calories and 7 to 14 grams of fat.

4. Combine tips 1 through 3. It will make a real dent in the calories, fat, and sugars. For instance, at Starbucks a Tall Gingerbread Frappuccino Blended Beverage (12 ounces) with nonfat milk and no whipped cream has 180 calories, 0 grams of fat, and 41 grams (about 10 teaspoons) of sugars. That's about 30 percent fewer calories and 26 percent fewer sugars than the original Grande (16 ounces)—and you completely cut the fat. The Chestnut Praline Latte drops to 100 calories, 0 grams of fat, and 18 grams of sugars when you order a Short with nonfat milk and no whipped cream.

5. Skip the eggnog drinks. They have more calories, fat, and sugars than an equal-sized serving of actual eggnog. In fact, eggnog lattes were usually the nutritionally worst holiday coffee drinks in the chains we looked at that served them.

6. Lighten the syrup. Although milk has about 12 grams of sugars per 8 ounces from the lactose that it naturally contains, the majority of the sugar calories in a lot of these drinks come from flavored syrup. If you can, lighten the sugar load by asking the server to use half the normal amount of syrup in your drink.