Move over, cream-filled fraps and syrup-loaded lattés, because healthy drinks at Starbucks actually exist.
A Grande Vanilla Latté may sound innocent enough — until you realize you’ve just ingested 250 calories and 35 grams of sugar. Although your go-to Starbucks orders may rack up some serious calorie counts, that doesn’t mean you have to give up on the java giant for good in order to stick to your New Year’s healthy eating goals. Fortunately for both our productivity levels and our waistlines, we’ve figured out the best modifications that slash the calories and sugar in our coffee drinks, without sacrificing any flavor.
These healthy Starbucks hacks allow plenty of room for customization, too, so no worries if you’re non-dairy, or not on the coffee train — we love a good tea more than anyone. Here’s how to order a drink at Starbucks that will help you lighten (and caffeinate) up.
Top it off with steamed milk.
Instead of getting a super milky latté or cappuccino, I order an Americano (espresso + water) and ask the barista to top it off with 1-inch of steamed soy milk. It has the “treat yo self” feeling of a latté for a fraction of the calories, plus the soy gives it a little sweetness without any dairy.
Go for stevia.
No matter what drink I’m ordering, I always substitute the high-calorie sugars or syrups for all-natural calorie-free sweetener Stevia. This one step drastically reduces the calories of any SB drink by removing the sugar, but you still get all the sweet flavor without anything artificial.
Specify your syrup amounts.
Any of Starbucks flavored drinks rely on the addition of syrups — which add 5 grams of sugar per pump. What does that mean for your drink? Well, a tall is made with 3 pumps, a grande is made with 4 pumps… so do the math. When I need a treat and order a mocha or a pumpkin spice latte, I specify just 1 or 2 pumps of syrup (depending on the size.) I actually prefer the taste, and can sip it guilt-free.
Better yet, choose spices over syrups.
Skip the syrups altogether and season your java with Starbuck’s array of super low-cal spices. The counter is always stocked with powdered cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate, and nutmeg. You can also ask the barista for matcha green tea powder. It’ll lend your latte some serious full-bodied flavor for only 25 calories.
Order a “Brewed Chai Tea” instead of a “Chai Tea Latté.”
I love the cozy taste of Chai spices at this time of year, but did you know that Starbuck’s standard Chai Latté has 240 calories and a whopping 42 grams of sugar? You can replicate the same flavor with a little of the creaminess by ordering a Brewed Chai Tea (this is zero-calorie water with a tea bag) topped off with 1” of steamed soy and a couple stevia. Your favorite drink just became ~ 30 calories and almost zero sugar grams. Boom!
Opt for a cold brew.
Instead of an iced latté in the warmer months, opt for a Cold Brew with a splash of almond, soy, or coconut milk. Starbuck’s custom cold brew is slow-steeped for 20 hours in order to achieve its signature smooth flavor. The best part? A Grande is only five calories, making it one of the lowest cal drink options on the menu.
Top your oatmeal with stevia, cinnamon, and fresh blueberries.
Starbucks oatmeal is one of the best food choices on the menu, but all the toppings they give you (brown sugar, maple syrup, dried fruit, etc) can pack a major punch in the sugar and calorie department. Here’s what I do: Order my oatmeal plain with a container of fresh blueberries (most SB’s have this), and then add a packet of stevia and a few shakes of cinnamon from the coffee bar. Pro tip: sometimes I have the barista add a little steamed soy or almond milk to the top of my oatmeal to make it creamier.
If you must order food from the case, go for the Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper Sous Vide Egg Bites.
These have developed cult status around our office because they’re not only surprisingly delicious: these guys pack 12 grams of protein, and are low-carb and low-cal to boot. I like to eat mine with a couple GG’s stashed in my purse for an added fiber boost. Check out our copycat recipe for egg white bites here!