5 Pastries and Coffee Drinks to Avoid

Here are the worst afternoon pick-me-ups at coffee chains in DC.

If you’ve hit that 3 PM slump and you’re reaching for your wallet to hit up the coffee shop on your block, be forewarned: you may be packing in a meal’s worth of calories and fat in those 16 ounces. While any drink that’s more cream and sugar than coffee isn’t a healthy choice, these drinks and pastries are particularly deadly.

With the help of local registered dietician and nutritionist Rima Kleiner, we got the skinny on the worst drinks and pastries from Starbucks, Corner Bakery, Dunkin’ Donuts, Peet’s, and Au Bon Pain.

Here’s a spoiler: anything with “chocolate” or “donut” in the name is likely a no-no.


Worst Drink

White Chocolate Mocha with whipped cream (Grande, 16 oz., 2% milk)

The name sounds delicious, but the whipped cream alone packs a calorie-laden punch. “(This drink) contains nearly 500 calories, which is equivalent to the maximum amount of calories most of us (particularly women) need at a meal,” says Kleiner. “With 18 g total fat and 63 g carbohydrate, this drink isn’t the worst of the offenders, but you won’t be doing your waist any favors by sipping this drink.”

Worst Pastry

Old-Fashioned Glaze Doughnut

Just like your grandma’s cooking, this old fashioned treat is packed with sugary, fatty, when-did-these-pants-get-so-tight goodness. “This doughnut contains nearly 500 calories, with 27 g of fat and 1 measly gram of dietary fiber, which means that you can bet most of the 56 g of carbohydrates come from sugar,” says Kleiner.


Worst Drink

Truffle Hot Chocolate with whipped cream (Medium, 16 oz., whole milk)

If you’re going to drink something with “truffle” in the description, you might as well just go straight for a Big Mac. “This drink contains nearly 500 calories and contained by far the highest amounts of saturated fat (12 g) and sugar (a whopping 72 g) of all the medium drinks,” say Kleiner.

Worst Pastry

Cinnamon Crumb Muffin

Have you ever seen a fit-looking Muffin Man illustration? Neither have we. “This muffin took the cake for the least healthy numbers–650 calories (260 of those from fat) and 90 g of carbohydrate (more than half of those carbohydrates from sugar), with only 1 g of dietary fiber,” says Kleiner. “In other words, this muffin will bulk up your calorie intake without filling you up.”


Worst Drink

Frozen Caramel Coffee Coolatta with Cream (Medium)

As the temps warm up outside, sugary, frozen beverages get all the more tempting. “This is by fat the worst drink of all the offenders with more than 700 calories, 35 g of total fat (mostly saturated) and 97 g of sugar,” says Kleiner. “This sweet splurge supplies nearly four times the amount of sugar most adults should eat in one day with zero nutrients.”

Worst Pastry

Butternut Donut and the Blueberry Crumb Donut

We have a tie! “The only nutrition prize these donuts will win is ‘highest in empty calories.’ Each of these donuts contain about 500 calories and about 50 g of sugar,” says Kleiner.


Worst Drink

Coffee Free Caramel Javiva (Medium, 16 oz, 2% milk)

Go ahead and drink this if you want all of your teeth to rot. “Even without the whipped cream, this drink contains nearly 450 calories,” says Kleiner. “While other drinks at this coffee shop contained more calories and fat, this drink contained almost twice as much sugar (90 g) as the other drinks.”

Worst Pastry

Apple Cinnamon Chip Muffin

Just because it has apples in it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. “This muffin contains a whopping 780 calories (with 230 of those calories from fat) and only 1 g of dietary fiber, meaning you’ll feel hungry soon after eating a meal and half’s worth of calories,” says Kleiner.


Worst Drink

Hot Chocolate (medium)

You may need to think your winter warm-up go-to. “A plain hot chocolate sounds innocent enough, but this long-time favorite topped this coffee shop’s worst offenders at 360 calories, 14 g total fat, 46 g of sugar and no dietary fiber,” says Kleiner.

Worst Pastry

Pecan Roll

If you’re trying to eat a couple ounces of nuts a day, don’t start here. “This list’s second worst option tops out at 740 calories and a whopping 43 g of total fat. While this pastry provides a little fiber (due to the nuts), it contains 48 g of sugar and little nutritional value,” says Kleiner.


“Best picks at a coffee shop? Stick with a nonfat latte or cappuccino. If you’re hungry, share a treat with a group of friends or opt for a carton of yogurt or a bag of trail mix,” says Kleiner.

Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.