A Guide To Ordering Healthy At Starbucks

It’s pumpkin spice latte season. And gingerbread latte season and eggnog latte season. As fall rolls around, you may be starting up your coffee habit again or getting back into the swing of your morning Starbucks run. In an effort to help tired people not consume 1/3 of their daily calories from their morning coffee run, we’ve compiled a list of tips for ordering healthy at Starbucks.

1. Skip the whipped cream.

I know, what is a venti light ice half caf soy milk caramel macchiato without the whipped cream? But the reality is, whipped cream adds at least 80 calories, and you’re usually not going to taste it, especially with a hot drink.

It IS possible to order healthy at Starbucks!

2. Specify a healthier milk.

The default milk at Starbucks is whole milk, so you can ask for 2% or nonfat milk and make your drink much healthier without changing the taste of the drink. Additionally, you can ask for soy milk or coconut milk, which are both lower in calories than whole milk.

It IS possible to order healthy at Starbucks!

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3. Order a plain coffee and add the cream and sweetener yourself.

By adding your own cream and sugar, you are more conscious of how much of it is going into your drink. Also, you are able to sweeten it to your liking and cut out any calories that would have come from the barista making your drink too sweet. As an added bonus, this will also save you money!

It IS possible to order healthy at Starbucks!

4. Order a water along with your drink, and drink it first.

Few of us drink enough water (I’m certainly guilty of it), and so often that Starbucks craving has a lot to do with dehydration. If you order water along with your drink and drink that first, you will quench that thirst with wonderful, calorie-free water. Then you’ll be able to drink your tall soy light foam extra vanilla pumpkin spice latte slower…and actually feel really full (so you can skip that maple bar staring you in the face).

It IS possible to order healthy at Starbucks!

5. Eat breakfast before you go buy coffee.

Yes you’re tired and in a rush, but by grabbing a granola bar or a banana on your way out the door, you’ll be much better equipped to resist the temptations that are chocolate croissants and cake pops and molasses cookies and all the other things that Starbucks dangles in front of you as you wait in line. And resist buying a pastry and calling it your breakfast- the high sugar quantity and low fiber and protein levels of the baked goods will only fill you up for about 45 minutes, so save the Danish for a special treat.

It IS possible to order healthy at Starbucks!

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6. If you need more caffeine, order more shots not a bigger drink.

Although it may seem like ordering a size up in your drink will wake you up more, for many drinks, a bigger size just means more milk, sweeteners and flavorings. When you need more of a wake-me-up, ask for extra shots of espresso in your regular size.

It IS possible to order healthy at Starbucks!

7. Make your own coffee and tea.

Everyone enjoys a nice trip to a coffee shop now and then, but if you’re really trying to be healthier, consider getting into the habit of making your own morning drinks as much as possible. If it MUST be Starbucks, pick up a package of their ground coffee to brew at home. You’ll be able to control exactly what goes into it, experiment as you wish, and won’t be tempted daily by other sugary treats. You’ll also save money and time by not buying coffee every morning.


Do you have any other tips for ordering healthy at Starbucks? Share in the comments!

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Featured image source: japanesestarbucks.tumblr.com
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Emily Deardorff

Emily is a first-year student at Western Washington University. She enjoys hikes, chocolate cake, farmer's markets, and environmentally friendly packaging.