Most of us will admit to how much we love Starbucks. Even if it’s not our favorite coffee shop, it’s still a dependable substitute. Some of us get a Starbucks fix every morning, and for others, it’s a once-in-a-while treat.
Healthy Starbucks Drinks
Unfortunately, most of the specialty drinks and treats are full of sugar and fat. There are definitely some healthy Starbucks options, but in reality they aren’t even that great for you or your waistline. So let’s take a look at a few drinks that won’t break your calorie bank.
Plain Coffee or Tea
The best drink you can get at Starbucks is plain brewed coffee or tea.
They essentially have no calories, if you don’t add a ton of cream and sugar that is. If you like strong coffee, order an americano which is espresso and water.
Less well known than it’s latte counterpart, a cafe misto might as well be a latte. It’s half coffee or americano and half steamed milk, racking up at around 60 calories. If you want some flavoring, ask for a sugar-free syrup.
The next healthiest drink you can get is a nonfat latte for 100 calories. If you want flavoring, make sure it’s a sugar-free syrup unless you want to add another 50-ish calories of sugar. You can also asked for an iced skinny latte which brings it down to 70 calories.
If you want something blended, your only healthy Starbucks option is a tall skinny frappucino which ranges from 100-150 calories depending on the skinny flavor of your choosing. Even so, a tall will get you a minimum of 21 grams of sugar. In my opinion, I advise that you put this drink in the ‘dessert’ category and removing it from your everyday diet.
I don’t think that I need to point out how high in calorie creme frappucinos are.
Oh, the famous PSL (aka Pumpkin Spice Latte). Everyone goes crazy pants around the time this guy comes available. Unfortunately, it breaks the calorie bank big time at 300 calories for a tall. Swapping out for nonfat milk and no whip brings the PSL down to 200 calories and 37 grams of sugar. Even with the reduction, it’s not worth it. If you really love your pumpkin spice, save your money and your calories and make your own at home.
Fortunately, not all is lost with the PSL. A Skinny Peppermint Mocha is just as good and 100 calories. Instead of a Carmel Brulee Latte, get a skinny carmel latte.
FYI for future drink ordering
- By default, Starbucks uses 2% milk.
- The venti and grande have the same amount of caffeine (2 shots of espresso)
- The short and the tall have the same amount of caffeine (1 shot of espresso)
- You can get the caffeine of a grande in a tall (w/o the added calories) by ordering a “double”
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Healthy Starbucks Food
I will preface by saying that some of these items listed are actually not healthy. They are just the lowest calorie items that Starbucks offers. It’s highly likely that they’re made with white flour, sugar, and butter. You know all those things that taste so good yet make us fat when consumed in large quantities.
There really are only a few options that are truly filling.
The Pastry Case
These pastries and sweets listed below are not healthy, but they won’t break the bank if you are hankering for a treat. Just make sure to eat a salad or lower carb meal later to balance it out. Using MyFitnessPal is especially helpful in budgeting your calories and carbs.
- A petite vanilla bean scone is 120 calories
- A birthday cake mini doughnut is 130 calories
- A cake pop is 140-180 calories
- A chewy chocolate meringue is 170 calories
- A chocolate chip cookie is 200 calories
- An oatmeal cookie is 220 calories
Everything else from the pastry case is much higher than that. A reduced fat banana chocolate coffee cake is 400 calories! A reduced fat pumpkin cream cheese loaf cake is 310 calories! Dont’ be tricked by the ‘reduced fat’ labels, they definitely don’t mean low calorie or low sugar.
I say real food, because I don’t qualify a sugary treat as ‘real food.’ It’s a treat, also known as dessert. Not a snack.
Anyways, real food from Starbucks. I’ve listed items that are 410 calories or less along with the grams of protein so that you can gauge how filling the entree might be. My favorite is the first one.
- The Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap is 290 calories and 19 grams of protein
- A Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon Sandwich is 230 calories and 13 grams of protein
- The Chicken and Hummus Bistro Box is 270 calories and 20 grams of protein
- Oatmeal is 160 calories depending on the toppings you add
- There is also a Hearty Blueberry Whole Grain Oatmeal that is 220 calories
- Seasonal Harvest Fruit Blend is 90 calories
- Chicken & Greens Caesar Salad Bowl is 340 calories with 19 grams of protein
- A Ham & Swiss Panini is 340 calories with 23 grams of protein
- The Zesty Chicken & Black Bean Salad Bowl is 360 calories with 19 grams of protein
- A Chicken Santa Fe Panini is 410 calories with 26 grams of protein
There’s always new food at Starbucks, so if this is outdated, forgive me. I do try to go through and update it from time to time. When you take a look at the nutritional information for sandwiches or salads, there’s a few general things you can do to make it healthier.
- Remove half the bread. Take the fillings and stuff it between half of the bread or eat it open faced.
- Scrape off mayo
- Don’t add the salad dressing
Whatever you do, take a look at the nutritional information first. A healthy sounding brown rice and vegetable bowl racks in at 430 calories with 50 grams of carbs! That’s most likely a third of the amount you need in a day. And a protein bistro box has only 13 grams of protein with 37 grams of carbs and 19 grams of fat.
Oh and skip the bagels. They don’t provide any real nutrients to your body or staying power. All of them are over 270 calories and have zero protein.
I hope this was helpful. With the prevalence and easy access to Starbucks around the US and internationally, there’s consistency in the choices you can make at home and while traveling. It’s always best to cook your own meals, but you can eat healthy on the run by following the guidelines here.