If you need a hit of caffeine, Starbucks is probably a go-to. But if you’re trying to lose weight, a daily Starbucks habit could wreak havoc on your good intentions. With an overwhelming amount of tempting options beyond a zero-calorie black coffee, it’s easy to order a beverage that rivals a pastry nutritionally. Frappuccinos and loaded mochas are obvious calorie-bombs that everyone knows we should avoid, but even lattes add up — especially when you order larger and larger sizes. In fact, Starbucks recently rolled out a new drink size, the 31-ounce Trenta, which is one ounce short of a quart.
But you don’t have to give up your daily fix to stay on track. These dietitian-approved tricks will help you navigate the menu so you can find healthy, satisfying options to keep you on track.
Seven Healthy Options at Starbucks: Drinks and Snacks
Nutrition Stats: 150 calories, 6g fat, 10g protein, 14g sugar
Nutrition Stats (iced): 100 calories, 3.5g fat, 6g protein, 9g sugar
Why it made the cut: Lattes are a blend of espresso and milk, so it’s like drinking a nutritious glass of caffeine-boosted milk. Any sugar in a regular, unsweetened latte is natural sugar from the milk, rather than added sugar — and the milk adds protein, making lattes a better option for supplementing a breakfast that needs a protein boost.
RD tip: All Starbucks drinks are made with 2% milk unless you specify otherwise. If you’re a fan of dairy milk, 2% is a great option. It’s creamy enough to be satisfying, but it has fewer calories and fat compared to whole milk. When ordering non-dairy milk at Starbucks, choose almond or soy. Almond milk reduces the calories in your drink, but won’t give you any of the filling protein, while soy milk is pretty comparable to dairy milk in terms of nutrition. Note that the ice in the iced latte cuts the milk back which reduces the calorie, fat, protein and sugar count across the board.
Nutrition Stats: 80 calories, 3g fat, 5g protein, 8g sugar
Why it made the cut: This is a one-to-one ratio of brewed coffee and steamed milk, so there’s less milk in a misto than in a latte, which slashes the calories nearly in half, but you still get the frothy creaminess from the steamed milk.
RD Tip: Order this with almond milk if you’re not a fan of dairy milk or want to cut even more calories — there are just 40 calories in a tall almond milk misto. If you’re craving a flavored drink, add no more than one pump of any syrup.
Nutrition Stats: 105 calories, 5g fat, 3g protein, 8g sugar
Why it made the cut: This drink satisfies a chocolate craving while reigning in the sugar and calories you’d find in other chocolatey Starbucks drinks, like the Salted Caramel Mocha. At just over 100 calories and 8 grams of sugar, this mocha is a reasonable indulgence.
RD Tip: Order just about any other flavored latte this way, too. Choose a tall to keep portions in check, almond milk to keep calories down (or 2% dairy milk if you need a protein boost) and just one pump (versus three) of syrup (whether it’s mocha, pumpkin spice, vanilla, etc.) for added flavor.
READ MORE > HEALTHY WAYS TO ORDER AT CHIPOTLE
Nutrition Stats: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g sugar, 0g protein
Why it made the cut: The Passion Tango Tea tastes fruity and refreshing without any sweetener. If you don’t normally like unsweetened iced tea, give this flavored tea a shot — you can’t get better than a zero-calorie drink packed with fruity flavor!
RD Tip: Be forewarned that many of Starbucks’ teas are heavily sweetened (even when the description reads “lightly” sweetened). Avoid iced tea lemonades and Refreshers, which are loaded with sugar, and instead opt for unsweetened iced teas or follow the one-pump rule to keep calories at a minimum.
Nutrition Stats: 200 calories, 2.5g fat, 5g protein, 37g carbs, 7g sugar, 5g fiber
Why it made the cut: At just 200 calories, this oatmeal has 5 grams of filling fiber from oats and blueberries, and only 7 grams of sugar when you leave out the agave syrup packet. The combination of filling oats, fresh blueberries and crunchy nuts is satisfying to help keep you full.
RD Tip: Choose the Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal over the Classic Oatmeal since it comes with fresh fruit, rather than sugar-sweetened dried fruit. That cuts back on added calories and sugar while increasing the volume and flavor to keep you satisfied. Leaving the agave packet behind cuts 20 calories and 5 grams of sugar. Sprinkle on cinnamon instead.
Nutrition Stats: 450 calories, 27g fat, 20g protein, 34g carbs, 15g sugar, 4g fiber
Why it made the cut: This protein box is available at nearly every Starbucks location, whether you’re in a busy city or at a kiosk in the mall. Containing one full cup of fruit plus whole-grain crackers and three cheeses, this box combines produce, protein and whole grains for a balanced meal that’s easy to eat on the go.
RD Tip: Split this box up and have snacks for two days — each snack packs in 10 grams of protein.
Nutrition Stats: 290 calories, 10g fat, 19g protein, 4g sugar, 6g fiber
Why it made the cut: This protein-rich breakfast is a great option for after the gym and an ideal non-pastry, non-cereal alternative if you’re on-the-go and need something to keep you satisfied. Not only is it a vegetarian, protein-rich choice, it also boasts 6 grams of fiber to keep you satisfied all morning.
RD tip: Round out this breakfast with a fresh fruit or a plain yogurt cup if you’re looking for something a bit more hearty.
Great article Danielle! Starbucks are everywhere that when you’re short on time, it’s a great reward, but it’s hard not to be lured by the brand and the flavors of various drinks!
I was curious why the reduced-fat turkey bacon breakfast sandwich didn’t make the cut and what the egg white spinach wrap provides to make it a better choice? Is it the balance of a little veggies and an appropriate amount of fat to keep you satisfied? I noticed it has more sodium too (830 mg) making it seem a little too pre-processed.
I do find that although the egg white turkey bacon sandwich clocks in at 18g of protein and 2 grams of sugar that the low fat doesn’t provide as much satiety out of a breakfast as I’d like. Curious for thoughts on this!