Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sweet and Skinny Breakfast Beverages

Until my husband and I moved to Texas, it never dawned on us to consider iced beverages to be breakfast fare. OJ? Yes. A nice, steaming cup of coffee or cocoa? Yes. Colas? No.

Here we discovered that Dr. Pepper, Coke and sweet tea are as popular for breakfast with Texas natives as coffee is in any other place outside of the South. It's easy to spot the natives in the morning at work, because they're the ones carrying in a bag of breakfast from Whataburger or Chik-fil-A along with a large cola. Non-natives are the ones carrying hot coffee, regardless of the time of year.

For those who don't know what sweet tea is, I heard it described this way:

"Brew some iced tea. Then add sugar to it until the sugar won't dissolve any more. That's sweet tea."

We tried it once at a local restaurant not long after we moved to Texas, when we decided to go Southern and order hush puppies and sweet tea with our burgers. While I don't think they added quite as much sugar to the tea as the quote above would suggest, I felt like I was going to wake up with a half-dozen cavities in my teeth the next morning. Haven't had it since.

So a tip to my fellow transplants: If you're looking for a sugar rush, try the sweet tea. Maybe just try it once for the experience. But if you are like me and try to keep your sugar intake to a minimum, if a waiter or waitress asks you "Sweet or unsweet?", go for "unsweet" and add sweetener to your own taste.

Have I otherwise embraced cold Texas breakfast drinks? Well, to a point, yes. Now, when the outside temperature climbs in the summertime, I prefer my coffee iced. The Egg and I has a nice iced coffee that I have enjoyed with my Saturday breakfast lately. But I have a diet secret that I'd like to share with the Starbucks fans out there who are trying to lose some weight: The lowest-calorie coffee beverage on the regular Starbucks menu is the Skinny Vanilla Latte. Served hot, a Tall is only 100 calories, and a Grande is 120 calories. An Iced Skinny Vanilla Latte is even better--a Grande is only 80 calories, because of the additional ice. When my husband and I want to stretch our legs and go for a good walk, but the weather outside isn't ideal, we go to the local mall and walk each level several times. Then we stop and pick up an Iced or Regular Skinny Vanilla Latte (depending on if we want a hot or cold beverage) as a diet-friendly treat.

I still miss having a Caramel Macchiato once in a while, but when I'm at a Starbucks it's nice to know I have an option beyond regular coffee that won't pack the pounds back on me.

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