Good Housekeeping/Betsy Farrell
Sadly, Starbucks’ coffee drinks aren’t always synonymous with a healthy start to your day, or a solid afternoon pick-me-up, either. Getting a daily dose of caffeine without overdoing it is already tough as is, but when you consider what health experts suggest is a “healthy” amount of coffee — just a single, solitary cup of regular Joe at breakfast with a splash of skim milk, per new federal dietary recommendations — you may feel hopeless. But don’t cry over spilled iced lattés (or macchiatos!) just yet.
The Starbucks’ menu can feel endless; like you’ll need a codex to choose something deliciously exciting without chugging more than an entire day’s worth of sugar (it’s possible, even our pros have been there). That why we did the hard work for you, having spent hours poring over Starbucks’ many, many coffee and tea beverages to find those that are low in sugar, saturated fat and calories, if that’s why you’re looking for. Some of the healthiest Starbucks drinks can even fit into vegan and keto diets, too, if that sounds like you!
- Each of the beverages below has been reviewed using nutritional information provided for grande-sized orders, the chain’s medium (16oz) offering.
- Using our tips and tricks, you should be able to craft an even better better-for-you drink.
- Each drink can be ordered hot or iced, despite our initial suggestion, and should remain mostly uniform in nutrition value.
- Stefani Sassos, MS, RD, CDN, deputy director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab and Good Housekeeping‘s registered dietitian, has even shared a few of her personal Starbs orders.
Editor’s note: Weight loss, health and body image are complex subjects — before deciding to go on a diet, we invite you gain a broader perspective by reading our exploration into the hazards of diet culture.
We’re spelling out any special ordering instructions for you to give with baristas; just be sure to follow them to a tee! Going for a smaller “tall” drink is always a good idea, but if you’re interested in upsizing, check out Starbucks’ interactive nutrition features on its site or app — or consult a master list of nutritionals right here. Follow along as we share the healthiest Starbucks coffees and teas you can feel great about, plus tips and tricks for making any Starbucks order that much better for you.
*Indicates major alterations to the order result in varying nutrition values.
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Jade Citrus Mint Tea
Iced Passion Tango Tea
Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso
Best Low-Sugar Starbucks Drinks
Iced Caramel Macchiato
Cinnamon Dolce Latte
Healthiest Starbucks Frappucinos
Healthiest Starbucks Iced Coffees
Honey Almondmilk Cold Brew
Iced Blonde Vanilla Latte
Best Vegan Starbucks Drinks
Nitro Cold Brew With Cinnamon Oatmilk Foam
Cold Brew With Dark Cocoa Almondmilk Foam
Best Keto-Friendly Starbucks Drinks
Iced Peach Tranquility Tea Infusion (Keto “White Drink”)
Iced Caffè Mocha
Healthiest Starbucks Tea Drinks
Peach Tranquility Tea
Iced London Fog Tea Latte
A Nutritionist’s Guide to Any Starbucks Drink
Keep these five rules in mind when asking for your favorite Starbucks drink – chances are, you’ll dash sugar, fat and calorie counts instantly.
- Ask for drizzles! If you’re thinking of ordering a drink made with a flavored syrup, Sassos says most pumps work out to be around 5g of sugar, and grande-sized beverages typically come loaded with 4 pumps as standard. You can work to drastically lower sugar counts by swapping to a mocha or caramel drizzle in the syrup’s place, which will work to lower more than half the sugar content of your drink, if not more (depending on your choice of milk).
- Skip whipped cream. And consider a layer of cold foam instead. Whipped cream can add upwards of 110 calories steeped in saturated fat to your beverage, and it often doesn’t boost flavors. A layer of unflavored cold foam, however, is made from nonfat milk sans any additional sweetener. You can also ask for a foam made from any alt milk on the menu, including the newly added oatmilk. It might be exactly what your iced coffee is missing.
- Order half the syrup, and make it sugar-free. “Artificial sweeteners tend to be much sweeter than regular sweeteners, meaning a little goes a long way,” Sassos says. Challenge yourself to do at least half the amount of flavoring — from a standard 4 to just 2 pumps — and pick an option that’s sugarless. Mainstays include vanilla, skinny mocha sauce, and cinnamon dolce sugar-free syrup, in addition to seasonal offerings that you can ask your barista about. Be sure to enforce this with venti-sized drinks, where added sugar due to syrup and creams or milks can become exorbitant, Sassos says. Eventually, you may be able to train your taste buds down to just a single pump of flavoring, enjoying your coffee’s natural flavor profile even more.
- Ask for almond milk or skim milk. There are a few non-dairy options available to you at Starbucks — oat milk is the newest addition to the chain’s lineup and blends well into vegan drinks, but it can contain more sugar than almond milk, Sassos explains. If you’re looking for a full dairy option, skim milk is your best bet to reduce your drink’s sat fat content.
- When in doubt, go “light.” It’s the under-the-radar way to order any drink on the menu with sugar-free syrup in its place, nonfat milk, and free of any added whipped cream. This is crucial if you enjoy blended coffee drinks, especially Frappuccino, as this can reduce sugar counts drastically where multiple flavors are concerned.
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