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10 Healthy Starbucks® Drinks That Won’t Hurt Your Waistline

Calling all coffee and Starbucks® lovers: We examined Starbucks® calories to bring you the healthiest Starbucks® drinks. Find out what to order on your next coffee run!

10 Healthy Starbucks® Drinks That Won’t Hurt Your Waistline


Calling all coffee lovers and Starbucks® devotees: We examined Starbucks® calories in order to bring you the healthiest Starbucks® drinks.

Did you know a cup of black coffee supplies about 5 calories per cup and offers essential vitamins and minerals? In fact, coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet.

Also offering many science-backed health benefits, what is the worry of coffee and nutrition anyhow? Much of the concern comes from added sugary syrups and sauces often used in coffee shops, including at Starbucks®.

Because let's face it, Starbucks® has a wide variety of menu options from the milk used all the way down (or up) to size.

Fortunately, identifying better Starbucks® nutrition just got a little easier with these ordering tips. We also share 10 of the healthiest Starbucks® drinks, but more on that later!

How to Reduce Starbucks® Calories

Especially if trying to lose weight, ordering may be overwhelming with so many choices on the Starbucks® menu. Use these tips to ensure a healthy Starbucks® drink every time.

1. Ask for the Starbucks® barista for a healthier alternative.

Starbucks® does offer healthier alternatives, so ask the baristas which options are available.

For instance, ordering the Lightly Sweet Chai Tea Latte reduces the sugar content of the original chai by 11 grams!

2. Use Starbucks® resources to your advantage.

Unsure of the calories in Starbucks® drinks?

Use the Starbucks® nutrition calculator and Starbucks® menu calories to your advantage to make an informed choice.

3. Swap out milks.

Simply swapping out whole or two percent milks with nonfat milk naturally cuts fat and calorie content.

Other milk options include soy milk, coconut milk, and almond milk.

4. Limit syrup pumps.

Syrups are essentially nothing more than pure sugar, easily piling up unnecessary calories. (Dismissing even one pump of syrup can trim off approximately 20 calories and five grams of sugar!)

To enjoy a sugar-free Starbucks® coffee drink, ask for sugar-free flavorings. This way, you can enjoy the same sweet taste without extra calories and sugar.

5. Flavor with spices.

Another way to ensure a low-sugar Starbucks® drink is by skipping out on the syrup entirely.

Instead, offer flavor with offered spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and cocoa.

6. Add espresso and extra foam.

Adding espresso naturally displaces or reduces milk capacity and room for whipped cream (for only 5 calories).

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

7. Downsize and enjoy those favorites.

Nutrition experts encourage people to not drink calories, especially on a regular basis. But relishing on those favorites can certainly be enjoyed in their original, untouched form.

Instead of ordering the largest size, downsize and truly relish the flavors without full guilt.

Let's use one of the highest calorie Starbucks® drinks as an example: A 24-ounce Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino® Blended Beverage. This contains 510 calories, 23 grams of fat, and 63 grams of sugar.

Downsizing to a 12-ouncer almost cuts these totals in half. Enjoy a Tall for 290 calories, 14 grams of fat, and 33 grams of sugar.

Healthy Starbucks® Drink

With those helpful tips in mind, consider ordering these 10 healthier Starbucks® drinks.

1. Freshly Brewed Black Coffee

To each their own on this one…

But if taste buds relish the taste of black coffee, go for it! The body will reap the caffeine benefits without all the added sugars and fat.

Nutrition per 16-ounce: 15 calories, 0 g fat, 2 g total carb, 1 g protein

2. Espresso

With 150 milligrams of caffeine in just one 2-ounce serving, an Espresso can really get the day started.

Although the flavor might be too much to handle, espresso is low in calories without additional fats or sugars. It can be easily and lightly sweetened with a small splash of milk.

Nutrition per 1.5-ounce espresso shot: 10 calories, 0 g fat, 2 g total carb, 1 g protein

3. Caffè Americano

The Caffè Americano is simply just rich espresso topped with hot water. If black coffee and the Americano are too potent for your liking, add a light splash of cream or milk.

Nutrition per 16-ounce: 15 calories, 0 g fat, 2 g total carb, 1 g protein

4. Cold Brew with Cold Foam

Enjoy a chilled or iced coffee but not the calories that come with frappes? Consider Cold Brew with Cold Foam, a smooth cold brew topped with cold foam as the name suggests.

The cold foam offers a slight sweetness, as it is prepared with vanilla syrup and sugar.

Nutrition per 16-ounce: 35 calories, 0 g fat, 7 g total carb, 2 g protein

5. Iced Caffé Latte

The Iced Caffé Latte is a dark, rich espresso combined with milk and served over ice. A perfect milk-forward cooldown.

Nutrition per 16-ounce: 130 calories, 4.5 g fat, 13 g total carb, 8 g protein

6. Teavana® Chai Tea

Not all varieties are considered tea-rrific options…

For instance, the Chai Latte is a "spiced black tea blended with steamed milk." Although a chai tea latte is essentially created from chai tea, it contains 42 whopping grams of sugar!

Order up the Teavana® Chai Tea for a sugar-free Starbucks® drink spiced with natural flavor. Or, go for other black and green teas made from herbs and spices such as "Earl Grey" and "Passion Tango."

If desiring more sweetness in hot or iced teas, opt for a small squirt of honey or a sprinkle of sugar or sugar substitute.

Nutrition per 16-ounce: 0 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g total carb, 0 g protein

7. Flat White

The Flat White is smooth ristretto shots of espresso get the perfect amount of steamed whole milk to create a not-too-strong, not-too-creamy, just-right flavor.

Order up a smaller size or go for lower-fat milk such as 1% or almond milk.

Nutrition per 8-ounce: 110 calories, 5 g fat, 9 g total carb, 6 g protein

8. Skinny Vanilla Latte

According to the Starbucks® Beverage Nutrition Master List, one pump supplies 20 calories and 5 grams of sugar. Using 3 syrups per 16-ounce latte, that equates to 60 additional calories and 15 grams of sugar.

To cut these calorie costs, without sacrificing flavor, order a "Skinny" Vanilla Latte. ("Skinny" is a Starbucks® preparation term for using sugar-free syrup and non-fat milk.)

Nutrition per 16-ounce: 120 calories, 0 g fat, 19 g total carb, 12 g protein
*Estimated using sugar-free vanilla and non-fat milk

9. Nonfat Caffè Misto

A Caffè Misto is a "one-to-one combination of fresh-brewed coffee and steamed milk."

Ordering with non-fat milk is a simple way to enjoy its rich flavor without the grams of fat.

Nutrition per 16-ounce: 70 calories, 0 g fat, 10 g total carb, 7 g protein

10. Nitro Cold Brew Coffee

The Nitro Cold Brew features their signature Cold Brew that has been slow-steeped for 20 hours.

The brew is infused with nitrogen as it pours from the tap, giving the coffee an enjoyable frothy, creamy texture.

Nutrition per 16-ounce: 5 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g total carb, 0 g protein

Sydney Lappe's Photo
Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on February 06, 2016. Updated on March 10, 2020.

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