Watching Your Weight at Starbucks

Everyone knows that dieting or watching one’s weight takes sacrifice. Whether you count in calories, fat grams, Weight Watchers Points, or all of the above, it’s important to maintain a few special items that you’d prefer not to give up. With a bit of tweaking, it’s easy to enjoy a healthy beverage at Starbucks.
Starbucks recently published a pamphlet entitled “Nutrition by the Cup,” available at your local Starbucks location or online at the resource provided below.

Your Starbucks barista can assist you in choosing a low fat option if you request it. He or she will make some excellent suggestions.

Portioning will also help you watch your weight. Starbucks offers a “short” size (8 ounces) that they don’t frequently advertise. Consider ordering your beverage in the short size (available only for hot drinks).

Hot Beverages:

Hot beverages such as lattes, caramel macchiatos, hot chocolates, and white mochas are delicious beverages. All of these can be ordered at Starbucks with lower fat options. These basic requests will lower the fat content of your Starbucks beverage:

Hold the whipped cream: Many hot beverages, such as mochas, hot chocolates, and caramel apple ciders, and some seasonal beverages come with whipped cream. Ask for no whipped cream or light whipped cream to lessen the load. According to Starbucks, this can eliminate between 80 and 130 calories from your beverage.

Milk options: Starbucks currently offers nonfat milk, 2% milk (whole and nonfat mixed together), organic milk, and Silk soy milk. Organic and soy milk do cost a bit extra. Consider these options if you’re watching your weight.

Syrup: The syrups that Starbucks uses to flavor a beverage usually contain sugar. To lower the impact, try reducing the amount of syrup in the beverage by requesting less pumps. Also, vanilla and hazelnut flavors are available in sugar-free form.

Drizzle: Beverages such as caramel apple ciders, caramel macchatios, and hot chocolates have drizzle on top (which is basically like adding more syrup to your drink). If your beverage has drizzle, ask for less or none.

Coffee and Espresso:

The calories in Starbucks espresso and brewed coffees are negligible. If you can stand to drink your coffee black (or with nonfat milk instead of cream), you can definitely choose this low fat option at Starbucks. This also applies to the Tazo hot teas offered by Starbucks.

Cold Beverages:

Iced Lattes and Mochas: These beverages are basically like the hot ones, only on the rocks. Follow all the same rules.

Frappuccinos: These cold blended beverages now come in three forms: coffee based, crème based, and tea based. Coffee based frappuccinos, such as the mocha frappuccino, can be ordered with frappuccino light, a sugar-free coffee base. A tall mocha frappuccino without whipped cream normally costs 220 calories, but with the light mix it is only 140 calories.

Crème based frappuccinos can be more difficult, but if you are considering a crème based beverage, try the tall vanilla bean crème frappuccino with no whipped cream. This will give you about 320 calories, but it’s the best bet for a crème based beverage.

If you are looking for a low calorie frappuccino but don’t want the caffeine, you can always ask for a decaffeinated coffee based frappuccino light.

Iced Teas: Starbucks shaken iced teas are delicious and refreshing, and with new evidence suggesting that green tea has beneficial antioxidants, it is also one of Starbucks’ healthier options. Ask for your iced tea unsweetened, as baristas usually sweeten the drink with sugary classic syrup. You may also request a sweetener like Sweet amp; Low, Equal, or Splenda. Starbucks also offers iced coffee. Like hot brewed coffee, it’s a great low calorie option.

Food: Resist the food at Starbucks. Even the ‘reduced fat’ items still have a lot of calories in them!

Suggested nutritional items:

For maximum caffeine, add shots of espresso to your beverages. Consider an Espresso Frappuccino Light with add shots or a 10 calorie tall Café Americano, made with shots of espresso in hot water. Unsweetened Tazo Passion Iced Tea contains no calories.

If you have additional questions, Starbucks encourages you to speak with your barista or to call their customer service hotline at 1-800-23LATTE.