More and more teenagers are bypassing the school lounge or the library to hang out at a local coffee shop. The cost and the calories can add up fast.
At 3:15 p.m. on a school day, the Starbucks across the street from Westside High School is bustling. Dozens of teens pour in looking for a pick-me-up.
“It’s kind of relaxing here,” said freshman Kara Lindquist. “Wakes you up and gets you going.”
There are plenty of options to deliver an extra kick.
“The kids love the Frappaccino. I think it’s geared towards them,” said Starbucks’ Dana Mike.
There are 5 calories and no fat in an espresso, but few students order regular coffee, baristas said. The Venti Double Chocolate Chip Frappaccino with whipped cream, with its 650 calories and 25 grams of fat, is more popular.
“I don’t really care about calories,” said Westside freshman Caroline Iliff.
Dr. Amy Lacriox of the University of Nebraska Medical Center said she wants teens to make sure they are not getting most of their daily calories and fat from beverages.
“They are a nice treat for adolescents to have. They shouldn’t be a regular staple in their diet and it shouldn’t be something they have several times a day,” the doctor said.
Lacroix reminded teens that the caffeine in the drinks are stimulants, and while that will wake you up, the side effects include interrupted sleep, upset stomach and jitters.
Also, the price of lattes and Macchiatos can run $3 to $5 each. Marian High School sophomore Kati Marcotte said it adds up to about $40 a month for her.