Coffee shop food choices that are healthy


"There are plenty of choices you can grab with your coffee that are actually really healthy for you. It doesn't have to be a 400-plus-calorie croissant to go with your coffee if you're looking for a snack in the afternoon," said Patricia Bannan, author of "Eat Right When Time is Tight."

Bannan said long gone are the pastry-only days. Now you can find foods with protein, fiber and good fat - but there are rules.

"When looking at a snack, you want to try to find something that's about 200 calories or less and something with protein and fiber for staying power," said Bannan.

Muffins, cookies or croissants - even with the trans fat removed - can still pack in 400 or more calories and not provide much sustainable energy.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf offer whole wheat breakfast burritos and a filling Tuna Nicoise salad - both nice meal options. But they also carry hummus and pretzel and fresh fruit for lighter bites.

Starbucks has a variety of Bistro boxes. One protein bistro box comes with egg, cheese, fruit, peanut butter and multigrain bread.

Bannan also likes KIND bars, which are simply nuts, dried fruit and honey or Somersaults found at Peet's Coffee & Tea that offer whole grain and seed snacks.

Of course, most of the java joints now have oatmeal, complete with fruit and/or nuts to make your morning complete.

Keep in mind that calorie-wise you do want to know what your liquid is going to cost you. Ordering a drink without milk or ordering it nonfat without whip is going to make an enormous difference. Keep in mind also that even a mid-size skinny latte is about 130 calories. So if you're snacking, there's not much left for food.

See photos of some healthy snacks at coffee shops.

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