Make Your Favorite Starbucks Drinks Healthier With These Easy Changes

If you’re a regular at Starbucks, you probably know not every drink on the menu is particularly healthy. While a flavored latte, blended Frappuccino or shaken iced tea may be great for an energy boost, they can also come with unwanted fat and sugar. Even something as simple as an extra pump of flavored syrup can add another 20 calories. Luckily, you can customize your order to minimize the damage while still enjoying your favorite drinks. Try these simple changes to make your next Starbucks drink a bit healthier.

1. Order a smaller size

cup of Starbucks coffee and beans

Smaller can be better. | iStock.com/monticelllo

Four ounces can make quite a difference. While it might not seem like a lot to take a 20-ounce venti order down to a 16-ounce grande, you really will see the difference in your waistline. Going down a size will deliver a lot less of everything — calories, fat, and sugar. Take a vanilla latte, for example. Switching from a venti to a grande saves you 70 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 9 grams of sugar.

2. Skip the whipped cream

Hot chocolate with whipped cream

Save the whipped cream for dessert. | iStock.com

Added toppings mean added calories. As harmless as a bit of whipped cream may sound, it can add at least 50 calories to your drink. A grande nonfat Caffè Mocha can go from 290 calories to 360 when whipped cream is added. Similarly, a grande nonfat Caramel Frappuccino can go from 260 calories to 390. You can also expect to consume a lot more fat in either case.

3. Choose your milk wisely

Bottle of almond milk

Almond milk is your best option. | iStock.com

While milk delivers vitamins and minerals that our bodies need, it’s important to be mindful when ordering your drink. Starbucks offers six different varieties: 2%, whole, nonfat, soy, coconut, and almond. In a side-by-side comparison, whole milk contains the highest number of calories and the most fat. All choices except coconut and almond milk have a substantial amount of protein, still almond milk may be the best for those watching their weight. It has the fewest calories and the least amount of sugar.

4. Opt for unsweetened

two coffee mugs

Cut back on the added sugar. | iStock.com

When you ask for something sweetened at Starbucks, the barista adds Classic Syrup, which is pretty much just a sugar and water solution. The nutritional value for a grande Teavana Shaken Iced Green Tea goes from zero calories to 45 with 11 additional grams of sugar when you add this ingredient. And that’s just for a grande. Order a venti of the same sweetened drink and you can expect 16 grams of sugar.

5. Ask for fewer pumps of syrup

hazelnut, vanilla and caramel coffee syrups

Request only two pumps of syrup. | iStock.com/MarkSkalny

According to Delish, a tall latte usually comes with three pumps of syrup, while a grande and venti come with four and five respectively. The Starbucks nutrition guide says that one pump of flavored syrup contains 20 calories. A single pump of mocha syrup has 25 calories. Add multiple pumps to your drink, and you can expect to consume more calories than you bargained for. Even if you opt for a sugar-free syrup, know those might not be the healthiest choice, either.

6. Order your drink “skinny” or “light”

Iced coffee

A skinny or light drink will cut back on calories. | iStock.com/jethita

You’ll be doing your body a favor if you make your next order at Starbucks a “skinny” or “light” option. Starbucks says “skinny” options are made with nonfat milk, sugar-free syrup, and no whipped cream. “Light” drinks are available for their Frappuccinos. They usually come with nonfat milk, a light syrup, and ice for fewer calories. Just make sure to specify you’d like to hold off on the whipped cream when ordering. These two options make your order slightly less sinful.

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