Every year, Starbucks rolls out a new drink for the holiday season, and on Wednesday, the coffee giant unveiled the 2017 concoction: the Christmas Tree Frappuccino, a blended drink with toppings that actually make it look like a decorated Christmas tree.
According to the Starbucks website, the drink consists of mocha and peppermint blended with milk and ice, topped with a “festive tree” made from matcha-infused whipped cream, a caramel drizzle, and candied cranberries that look like ornaments. It’s all topped off with a strawberry. This won’t have as long a run as the peppermint mocha or gingerbread latte: It’s available only between Dec. 7 and Dec. 11, and only in the U.S. and Canada.
But naturally, people are already freaking out about it on social media:
Gotta try this new Christmas tree frappuccino #GiveGood
— Rachel Smith (@RachelBess0525) December 7, 2017
OH MEH GOAD I JUST SAW THE STARBUCKS CHRISTMAS TREE FRAPPUCCINO and the very sight of it gave me a medical event. I want one so badly.
— Mike Donner, Blitzen, Prancer, Dancer; not Rudolph (@Mike_Donachie) December 7, 2017
OMG! Starbucks has a Christmas tree Frappuccino!!!!
— Jill (@Jillniki) December 7, 2017
Of course, it’s not exactly a health food — and Starbucks isn’t pretending that it is. Still, it’s worth pointing out that the nutritional information for the Christmas Tree Frappuccino is eye-opening. A 16-ounce drink made with whole milk contains 420 calories, 21 grams of fat, and 50 grams of sugar, per the Starbucks website.
Despite these intense stats, nutritionists aren’t freaking out over it. “I think we should be able to look at this for what it is: a festive holiday drink,” Alissa Rumsey, intuitive eating coach and founder of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness and creator of the 5-Minute Mindful Eating Exercise, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Gina Keatley, a C.D.N. practicing in New York City, agrees, provided you look at it the right way. “I see the Christmas Tree Frappuccino less as a drink and more of a dessert, one you should share with a best friend or loved one,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
The sugar is Keatley’s biggest concern — at 50 grams a drink, it’s double the recommended daily limit from the American Heart Association — but having the drink once or twice isn’t going to torpedo your health goals, she says.
If you want to try the Christmas Tree Frappuccino, Rumsey says you absolutely should, and you shouldn’t feel bad about it, either. “Savor it, enjoy it, and don’t stress about it,” she says. “Feeling guilty about drinking this will just lead you to try to eat less to negate it, which will be followed by overeating because you aren’t fueling your body, followed by more guilt.”
If you want to try to make a healthier version of the drink, Keatley recommends asking the barista to split it into two cups and share it with a friend. You can also ask for skim milk and no whipped cream to cut back on the calories but, again, it’s not a biggie if you go all-in. “It’s the holidays, so it’s OK to have an indulgence now and again,” Keatley says. “Just make them sporadic and special, and you’ll be fine this season.”
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