Holiday drinks at Starbucks® are an almost obligatory part of celebrating the season. However, finding low-calorie Starbucks®® drinks or Starbucks® drinks for diabetics can feel like a challenge. Understanding how to make Starbucks® holiday drinks low-calorie can help you create a drink that fits your dietary needs.
Read on for Starbucks® low-calorie drinks, including answers to questions like “What are low-calorie drinks at Starbucks® this holiday season?”
10 Healthy Holiday Drinks at Starbucks®
Looking for brewed coffee that’s better for you? Here are the top 10 holiday drinks with festive flavors.
Steamed milk might be one of the healthiest drinks you can find on the Starbucks® menu. It may sound like a boring cup of milk, but it’s actually an incredibly warming beverage you can enjoy at just 200 calories when you order a Grande (16 fl oz). It’s a simple concoction, made of just 2% milk (or soy, almond, or coconut milk as a substitute) and milk foam.
If you’re looking for the feel of steamed milk but want something that’s a bit “fancier,” try a Flat White. The 12-ounce (Tall) size is just 170 calories, and it’s made from filling whole milk and two shots of signature espresso. It’s perfect for an afternoon pickup, and the milk keeps you feeling full by providing 9 grams of protein.
Matcha Tea Latte
Matcha may not sound like a typical holiday drink, however, its Grinchy green color is sure to get you in the holiday spirit. A tall matcha tea latte clocks in at only 190 calories and provides the potential health benefits of green tea, too.
Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte
Sugar cookies are a must when it comes to creating holiday cheer. Enjoy the festive flavor without all the effort when you taste the Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte. It contains less calories than its frappuccino counterpart. A Grande is only 180 calories, and you can decrease that count by asking the barista for only two pumps of syrup and no sprinkles.
Chestnut Praline Latte
If you prefer roasted coffee to “chestnuts roasting on an open fire”, this pick is for you. A Short (8 fl oz) size Chestnut Praline Latte is only 190 calories and contains 6 grams of protein. With only one shot of espresso roast and just two pumps of syrup, this drink provides a guilt-free pick-me-up.
If lattes aren’t your favorite, this drink is also available in a variety of formats (including iced coffee). Here are similar drinks to enjoy while keeping your order under 260 calories:
Irish Cream Cold Brew
According to Starbucks® lore, the Irish Cream Cold Brew has been created thanks to Christmas memories. Launched in 2019, the Irish cream drink has become a quick classic. While it’s traditionally homemade or given as a gift, the Starbucks® beverage is a great way to treat yourself this season.
A Grande contains only 200 calories, and the Irish Cream cold foam and cocoa powder create a chocolatey flavor. With classic flavors like vanilla mixed in, this sip may become your new, festive favorite.
Peppermint Mocha Crème Frappuccino
Clearly a holiday drink, the peppermint mocha instantly adds holiday cheer to your cup. Surprisingly, the crème frappuccino version of this drink contains fewer calories. A Tall keeps you under 300 calories, and you can get that down to around 250 by asking for no whipped cream.
If you’re craving a frosty version of this favorite, order a Tall Iced Peppermint Mocha. To keep calories manageable, ask the barista for only two pumps of peppermint syrup, 2 pumps of mocha sauce, and no whipped cream. This will take it from over 300 calories to about 250 calories instead.
The peppermint mocha frappuccino is also a frosty favorite, crowned with curls of dark chocolate. Order a Tall and ask for no whipped cream to keep your drink under 300 calories.
Peppermint White Chocolate Crème Frappuccino
While larger sizes can be costly in terms of calories, a Tall Peppermint White Chocolate Crème Frappuccino is only 270 calories. Thanks to only one pump of mocha sauce and one pump of peppermint syrup, milk remains the star of the show. With milk as the main ingredient, you’ll also get 5 grams of protein from this drink.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Can’t get enough peppermint? A Short size peppermint hot chocolate should satisfy your cravings. If 230 calories seem like too much, get it under 200 by asking for only one pump each of peppermint syrup and mocha sauce. As mentioned above, you can also reduce your calorie count by opting out of whipped cream.
Toasted White Chocolate Mocha
Caramelized white chocolate gives the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha its toasty flavor. It doesn’t get more delightful than espresso paired with “holiday sugar sparkles!” Keep your drink around 200 calories by ordering size Short and asking for only one pump of Toasted White Chocolate Mocha Sauce.
Toasted White Hot Chocolate
Like the above-listed drink but without the espresso, Toasted White Hot Chocolate takes hot cocoa to a whole new level. A Short stays under 250 calories and can be made with alternative milk as desired. It comes with a whopping 8 grams of protein and can be enjoyed with or without whipped cream.
How to Make Starbucks® Holiday Drinks Low-Calorie
Try these tips to make your favorite festive drinks healthier.
Start With A Smaller Size
One way to enjoy seasonal drinks without shame about calories or sugar is to simply order a smaller size. In Starbucks® lingo, that usually means ordering a Kids (8 fl oz), Short (8 fl oz), or Tall (12 fl oz).
If you want a larger size, like a Grande (16 fl oz) or Venti (20 fl oz), it might be worth employing the other tips listed here to keep calories manageable.
Skip Out On Whip & Fill Up With Foam
You can save about 50-100 calories by skipping whipped cream. If you still want to enjoy a creamy sensation, ask for foam instead! Foaming typically involves milk and can add layers, lightness, and volume to a drink (similar to whipped cream).
Try An Alternate Milk
While whole or 2% milk can add protein to drinks, it may not fit into your diet or lifestyle. Dairy products like heavy cream can also add unwanted saturated fats. Luckily, most Starbucks® locations offer the following alternative milks:
Each of these options can enhance your beverage’s nutrient profile in a different way.
Limit Added Sugars Like Syrup
As mentioned above, forgoing syrups can cause calorie counts to go down. The size of the drink often determines the amount of syrup. A tall size contains 3 pumps (about 60 calories worth of syrup), a Grande contains 4 pumps (about 80 calories), and a Venti contains 5-6 pumps (about 100 calories).
For diabetics or those keeping a close watch on blood sugars, sugar-free syrups (like sugar-free vanilla syrup) are typically available. Ask to replace the traditional pumps with a pump of sugar-free syrup or sauce, or ask for only one pump of classic sauce or syrup to keep blood sugars balanced.
Stir In The Spices
Spices like nutmeg or cinnamon can add a hint of sweetness without all the sugar. Baristas typically have common kitchen ingredients on hand, such as vanilla or cocoa powder.
If you’re keeping an eye on calories but don’t want to skimp on flavor, get creative with spices or seasonings. Remember, sugar sprinkles can be replaced with a sprinkle of cinnamon (which makes a great companion to almost any flavor).
What are low-calorie drinks at Starbucks®?
The lowest calorie drinks at Starbucks® are those with simple ingredients and minimal amounts of added sugars and syrups. Steamed milk and matcha tea lattes are great examples, as they contain mostly milk and few added ingredients.
How do you make Starbucks® sugar-free holiday drinks?
To make Starbucks® seasonal drinks sugar-free, ask for sugar-free syrup. Starbucks® generally has two sugar-free syrups available, vanilla and cinnamon dolce. Both add subtle and sweet flavors to holiday drinks without all the sugar.
Peiper H. Introducing Irish Cream Cold Brew. Stories.Starbucks®.com. Published December 2019.