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Choose wisely on Starbucks' free-pastry day -- or get a brochure for later

July 21, 2009 |  9:54 am

The offer --  courtesy of your friendly neighborhood mega-chain Starbucks -- really might seem too good to resist: a free pastry on the morning of July 21 with the purchase of a beverage. But don't be blinded by the deal. Calories are cheap; pounds are expensive.

The offer ends at 10:30 a.m. but (for some of us anyway) it's not too late to choose wisely.

The lowest-calorie offering would appear to be the petite vanilla bean scone at 140 calories. In the normal-size food category, the lowest-calorie choice is the low-fat raspberry sunshine muffin and the reduced-fat cinnamon swirl coffee cake, each with 290 calories.

Beware the double-iced cinnamon rolls -- 490 calories each. (And you'd have a sugar crash well before lunch.) Don't think the presence of fruit equals "healthful": The banana walnut bread packs in 480 calories per serving.

The numbers are from the chain's "Nutrition by the Plate" brochure. You can have one too -- just ask. You can also get a "Nutrition by the Cup" brochure. I'd offer some details from it (the thought of a loved one ordering a frappuccino blended creme keeps me up at night), but time's running out. Go! Go! 

-- Tami Dennis