It’s fun to go out for coffee. Coffee shops are relaxing places. Their location and easy access make them the perfect afternoon excursion for you and your aging loved one. However, be aware that some of those delicious coffee drinks hold large amounts of sugar that can wreak havoc on a diabetic’s diet. Thankfully there are always many alternatives on a coffee shop’s drink menu. If you know how to navigate the sugary minefield you can still enjoy flavored coffee drinks, but with greatly reduced sugar content.
We did some research to provide you with examples from popular coffee shop chains. The sugar content listed in the following examples is taken directly from each company’s nutritional listings.
Starbucks is famous for its coffee and made its name on custom coffee drinks. Whenever your loved one craves one of their tasty concoctions, make sure to ask for it as sugar-free, made with nonfat milk and “no whip”, the Starbucks term for “no whipped cream”. Here’s why you should be careful about your selections. A grande (medium) white chocolate mocha has 59 grams of sugar and a grande cinnamon dolce latte has 40 grams of sugar. Their peppermint hot chocolate has 61 grams of sugar but the skinny peppermint hot chocolate contains only 15 grams. A skinny peppermint mocha that contains espresso, steamed nonfat milk, sugar-free mocha sauce and sugar-free peppermint syrup has only 13 grams of sugar.
Dunkin Donuts relies on sugar for delicious coffee drinks as well. A medium vanilla chai has 48 grams of sugar and a small peppermint mocha iced coffee with cream has 26 grams. However, a small iced coffee with almond milk has only 2 grams of sugar.
If you live in an area where Pete’s Coffee and Tea shops are popular, you can select drinks with lower sugar content there too. A medium iced vanilla latte with whole milk has 40 grams of sugar, but a traditional cappuccino with nonfat milk has only 5 grams of sugar.
These examples provide a window of insight into the fact that American foods are rife with sugar and high fructose corn syrup. If your loved one needs to adhere to a diabetic diet, you will have to conduct a bit of detective work when you eat out. Many eating establishments, whether fine dining or fast food, post calorie counts beside each item. That is a helpful guide and some indication of sugar content. If the restaurant menu does not list calories, look for the following ingredients in the description of the dish you are considering. All of these are types of sugar:
- Maple and other syrups
- Evaporated cane juice
- Florida crystals
- Barley Malt
- Agave nectar
Don’t hesitate to ask the waiter or waitress about the sugar content of a dish. They can easily ask the chef and help you to select food that is low-sugar or no-sugar. Don’t assume that salads are sugar-free. Some restaurants coat nuts and other ingredients with sugar to make it extra-tasty.
Home Care Assistance caregivers are trained in good nutrition. When they are caring for your loved one they will make sure that they eat nutritious foods that comply with dietary restrictions and support good health. We know that good nutrition supports physical, mental and emotional health and fosters healthy aging.
Have you found creative ways to avoid foods with high sugar content? If so, please share them with us. We would like to know what you have found as you eat out with your aging loved one.