Starbucks coffee is a treat year-round, whether it’s a creamy iced latte on the hottest day of a summer, a pumpkin spice latte on a brisk autumn day, or a piping hot peppermint mocha during the holidays. Sadly, what you may have suspected is true: many of Starbucks’ tastiest drinks are loaded with carbs, fat, and added sugars.
Don’t worry, there’s no need to give up your favorite pick-me-up: you can craft practically any Starbucks drink into a relatively healthy one. Keep reading for 10 of the best healthy Starbucks drinks that don’t sacrifice on flavor. Plus, I share a few ordering tips for keeping your drink low in calories in case you want to customize something or stray from my suggestions.
6 Tips for Creating a Healthier Starbucks Drink
1. Skip the Sweeteners
Rather than adding white sugar or syrup to your drink, try a packet of stevia or a sprinkle of cinnamon, both of which are always available at the milk station.
2. Try an Alternative Milk
Starbucks always uses whole milk unless otherwise requested, but stores also carry 2% milk, nonfat milk, soy milk, coconut milk, and almond milk. Subbing almond milk for full-fat milk on a tall latte can save you 80 calories, and almond milk is also the best low carb, low calorie, and low fat milk on the menu.
3. Customize Syrup Pumps
Starbucks offers eight syrups year-round, including crowd favorites like cinnamon dolce and caramel. One pump contains 20 calories, and a standard grande has 4 pumps. Try customizing the number of pumps or asking for a sugar-free syrup.
4. Withhold the Whipped Cream
The standard whipped cream serving for a tall adds a whopping 82 calories and 8 grams of fat. If you can’t imagine going whipped-cream-free, ask the barista for lite whip.
5. Order a Tall
If you’re really craving a classic Starbucks creation without any low cal substitutions, try ordering a tall and sipping it slowly. You’ll still enjoy it as a treat while avoiding the calories found in the grande and venti versions.
6. Check the Starbucks Menu for Calories
All Starbucks stores in the United States are now required to list nutritional information for the standard versions of their drinks on the in-store menus. You can also see nutritional info for your favorite coffee drinks in the Starbucks app.
BONUS TIP: Bring a Reusable Cup
This tip is more for the health of your wallet than your waistline, but I’m always surprised by how few people know this: Starbucks drinks are $.10 off if you bring a personal coffee cup. They charge you for the closest cup size and no larger. That might not seem like much, but if you got a Starbucks 5x/week for one year, that’s over $25! Linking some of my favorite reusable Starbucks coffee cups below.
10 Healthy Starbucks Drinks that Taste Amazing
Most nutritionists recommend black coffee, iced coffee (black), cafe mistos, and black caffé americanos for people who are watching their waistlines, but honestly, those options are bitter, plain, and no fun, even if they’re the healthiest.
I believe that living a healthy lifestyle means making sacrifices but doesn’t have to mean suffering. With that in mind, here are ten of my favorite healthy Starbucks drinks that are not only low in calories but actually taste delicious. All calorie counts are for the tall versions.
1. Nonfat Cappuccino: 60 calories
My signature drink when I’m watching calories, a cappuccino combines a rich shot of espresso with thick, frothy foam. I like to sprinkle a little cinnamon or nutmeg on top to give it a punch.
2. Skinny Vanilla Latte: 100 calories
The traditional latte combines espresso shots with rich milk and a ribbon of vanilla syrup, but this lighter version uses nonfat milk and sugar-free syrup to ease up on the calorie count. It’s my go-to when I’m craving a sweet afternoon pick-me-up.
3. Light Frappuccinos: 110-130 calories
There’s just something about a frappuccino on a hot day. Blended, creamy, icy goodness can be made healthier with their lightened up line of frapps, which include a Vanilla Bean, Coffee, and Caramel Frappuccino Light.
4. Hot or Iced Caramel Macchiato: 140 calories
For those who don’t love the taste of coffee, this is my choice. Espresso is combined with unsweetened caramel and vanilla syrup, then topped with nonfat milk and a drizzle of caramel. The iced and hot versions of this creation each have 7 grams of protein if you choose skim milk.
5. Blonde Flat White: 100 calories
Blonde espresso has a smoother taste than regular espresso, and it’s mixed with nonfat milk. The difference in a flat white and a latte is that flat whites have a thinner layer of foam on top, so they’re perfect for people who love the thick, creamy steamed milk that sits just underneath the surface.
6. Skinny Chai Tea Latte: 120 calories
In this classic, black tea is infused with cinnamon, cloves, and other warming goodies. While it is lightly sweetened, a traditional tall contains 42 grams of sugar, so you’re saving yourself more than 20 grams in this lightened up version.
7. Nitro Cold Brew: 5 calories
I liken this ingenious Starbucks creation to a fresh draft beer on a hot day. It’s dispensed from a tap in-store, served unsweetened without ice, and topped with smooth, cold foam. You can add a dash of sweet cream for between 30 and 70 calories if you choose.
8. Shaken Iced Green Tea: 0 calories
This summertime favorite combines lemongrass, mint, and lemon verbena for those who really want to feel like they’re on a health kick. Just be sure to ask for it unsweetened. Plus, green tea has health benefits that include improved fat burning, antioxidants, brain function, and more.
9. Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher: 50 calories
If you’ve ever seen a raspberry-colored Starbucks, it’s probably a refresher. These iced options combine Teavana iced tea with fruit juice and other add-ins, like coconut milk, to create a fruity and refreshing sip. For an even lower calorie option, try the Iced Passion Tango Tea (30 calories).
10. Nonfat Cafe Mocha: 190 calories
While a rich, chocolate-flavored coffee isn’t exactly healthy, sometimes true chocolate lovers just need their weekly dose. The trick? Ask for non-fat milk, no whipped cream, and light mocha sauce.
For those of you who love healthy eating and lifestyle tips, don’t miss my healthy snack ideas, tips for how I stay healthy when we travel, or my favorite lunch spots in Raleigh, NC. And be sure to follow me on Pinterest for healthy living inspiration.
What’s your favorite healthy Starbucks drink? Let me know what you order in the comments!