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Healthy Eating

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Starbucks Holiday Drinks: Your Healthiest Options

It's that time of year again... The season for the red exterior Starbucks coffee cup! Unfortunately, more times than not, coffee becomes overtaken with sugar and fat. But with these healthy Starbucks drinks, you can remain in the holiday spirit without the worry of packing on unwanted calories!


We all look forward to the day that Starbucks® reveals its much anticipated holiday lineup for its holiday drinks and festive cups!

While the red and green cups are undeniably eye appealing, it is on the interior that tends to matter most. And more times than not, these coffee drinks become overtaken with sugary syrups and sauces and fat sourced from milk and whipped cream.

But with these healthy Starbucks drink tips, you can remain in the holiday spirit without the worry of packing on unwanted calories!

Starbucks® Healthy Holiday Drink List

Peppermint Mocha

Would it really be winter without the notorious Peppermint Mocha? With its release for the 16th consecutive year in a row, Starbucks® and its followers think not!

Crafted with signature espresso and steamed milk, sweetened with flavors of chocolate and peppermint, and topped off with whipped cream and dark chocolate curls, this drink was just mint to warm your red cup this holiday season.

Healthy Starbucks® Drink Tip:
You can "skinny up" the original peppermint mocha drink by opting for nonfat milk and asking for sugar-free peppermint and mocha flavorings.

Caramel Brulée Latte

Espresso, steamed milk and rich caramel brulée sauce, topped with whipped cream and shimmery caramel brulée topping... While it sounds delightful, the brulée sauce and topping is quite concentrated in corn syrup and sugar.

Healthy Starbucks® Drink Tip:
Whereas a Grande sized Caramel Brulée Latte contains 47 grams of sugar, reduce the added sugar by requesting the brulée sauce in lighter doses and sugar-free caramel flavoring.

Chestnut Praline Latte

Espresso with flavors of caramelized chestnuts and holiday spices, chestnuts are ready to roast in your Starbucks cup this holiday season! Compared to other coffees flavored with multiple syrups and toppings, the Chestnut Praline Latte might be the healthiest option. In fact, the ingredients are fairly simple: Milk, brewed espresso, and chestnut praline syrup.

Healthy Starbucks® Drink Tip:
But if watching calories, ordering a partial pump of syrup with nonfat milk and no whipped cream can save you approximately 140 calories.

Eggnog Latte

The Eggnog Latte is a holiday favorite crafted with espresso, combined with rich, steamed eggnog and milk, and dusted with a sprinkle of ground nutmeg.

Healthy Starbucks® Drink Tip:
To cut down on calories, ask for a smaller volume of eggnog and balance with more nonfat milk or a shot of espresso. Ordering a Tall over a Grande will also save 90 calories.

Toasted White Chocolate Mocha

Espresso combined with steamed milk and the flavors of toasted white chocolate, all topped with holiday sugar sparkles and crispy white pearls! But the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha contains quite the laundry list of ingredients, including sugar, corn syrup, sugar malt extract, dried glucose syrup, among other things.

Healthy Starbucks® Drink Tip:
Enjoy the Starbucks® holiday treat in moderation, along with requesting sugar-free vanilla and smaller quantities of the toasted white chocolate mocha sauce and holiday sugar sparkles and crispy white pearls.

Gingerbread Latte

Sweet and spicy gingerbread combined with espresso and steamed milk and finished with a topping of whipped cream and ground nutmeg… It sure is hard to exit the holiday season without coming across those notorious gingerbread men!

Healthy Starbucks® Drink Tip:
By opting for a nonfat milk without whipped cream, enjoying a Grande Gingerbread Latte clocks in around 200 calories while offering 12 grams of protein.

Holiday Spice Flat White

This holiday spiced coffee drink builds flavors with Starbucks’ own Christmas Blend, perfectly steamed micro-foam, and warm holiday spices, composed of cane sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove. Guiltlessly indulge on the warm spices by dismissing whipped cream and swapping out whole milk with a nonfat or almond milk, saving you about 100 calories and at least 5 grams of fat.

Christmas Blend

Starbuck’s annual Christmas Blend is back! Like all plain coffees, this Sumatra, dark roasted blend provides a mere five calories per 16-ounces, making it a superior healthy holiday drink! If desired, personally dress up the coffee with nonfat milk and a dash of cinnamon often provided in-store.

Teavana Joy Brewed Tea

Not a coffee drinker? This festive blend of black, green jasmine, and oolong teas hinted with apricot stimulates the holiday season for an absent (yes, only zero!) calorie load.

How To Make Starbucks® Drinks Healthy

In addition to the recommendations regarding healthy holiday coffee drinks, these tweaks and tips can healthify your next Starbucks® run throughout the entire year!

1. Swap Out Milks

Simply swapping out whole or two percent milks with nonfat milk naturally cuts fat and calorie content without compromising calcium content, even obtaining at least 30 percent of total daily calcium needs!

Other milk offerings include almond, soy, and coconut milks.

2. Limit Syrup Pumps

You can likewise ask for sugar-free flavorings, including vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, mocha, peppermint, cinnamon dolce, and raspberry, to enjoy the same sweet taste without the extra calories and sugar.

If tolerable, switch to a sugar-free syrup, as it gifts the same sweet taste without the calories and sugar. Offered flavors include vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, mocha, peppermint, cinnamon dolce, and raspberry.

3. Spice It Up

You can also skip out on the the syrup entirely and flavor with spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and cocoa.

4. Ask for Extra Foam

Asking for extra foam to top your beverage naturally cuts down on calories, as the foam is lighter in volume and calories compared to milk straight from the carton or jug.

5. Add Espresso

An espresso shot provides only five calories while adding a little more pep in your step! Adding espresso can naturally displace or reduce milk capacity and room for whipped cream.

6. Downsize and Enjoy Modestly

Especially considering the limited edition of these holiday drinks, they can certainly be enjoyed in their original, untouched form. But instead of consuming the largest cup offered, downsize the volume and truly relish the flavors without the full guilt!

Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on April 17, 2017. Updated on March 06, 2019.


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