9 Starbucks Drinks That Are Under 70 Calories
A registered dietitian tells us what to drink and what to skip at Starbucks.
For many people, coffee is a regular part of their day. Actually, about 60 percent of U.S. coffee drinkers claim to start their day with a cup o’ joe.
While coffee has some antioxidant benefits, and may reduce risk of death from heart disease and stroke, as a registered dietitian, I see so many clients who have no idea of the negative impact it can have when they turn that plain coffee into a daily sugary latté or blended drink.
It’s not just a hit to your wallet, but most of these fancy drinks are loaded with calories and sugar, causing major hormone imbalances in the body. Excess calories, sugar and refined carbohydrates kind of go unnoticed when we slurp them down in a matter of minutes, and drinking sugar-laden beverages is a major contributing factor to our country’s obesity epidemic.
If you are looking to slim down and cut out the sugar and sweeteners at your next Starbucks stop, take my advice as a registered dietitian and try these drinks instead:
1. Caffè Misto
(Tall with half coffee, half steamed 2% milk = 60 calories)
The flavor is similar to a café latte, but because it’s coffee-based, the price is significantly less. If you order any other size than “tall,” opt for non-fat milk.
2. Café Au Lait
(Tall = 20 calories)
Looking for that frothy milk from a latte or Misto with even fewer calories? Ask for just a splash of steamed milk in your brewed coffee—and sprinkle some cinnamon on top to give it an extra zing.
(Tall with skim milk = 60 calories)
Combining equal amounts of espresso and hot frothed milk, it’s the same as a Caffè Misto but with more of a jolt.
(Tall with steamed skim or 2% milk on top—not a Misto, just a topper)
Do you love the steamed milk in a latte and the pick-me-up of an espresso, but want to cut back on calories? The Americano with steamed milk is my personal favorite caffeinated choice at Starbucks.
5. Mint Majesty Hot Tea
(Or any herbal tea = 0 calories and lots of antioxidants)
Starbucks mint tea has a refreshing taste, and also provides benefit for the gut and GI system. Plus, if you’re trying to limit overall caffeine intake, this is a great alternative!
6. Brewed Chai Tea With A Splash Of Steamed Milk
A tall “Chai Tea Latté” has 42 g sugar, 240 calories and 45 g carbohydrates (that’s more sugar than we need in a day, not to mention enough carbs for a meal). Instead, opt for brewed hot chai tea and ask for steamed skim milk for only 30 calories!
7. Iced Hibiscus Or Passion Tango Tea (Unsweetened)
At just 70 calories, a 16-ounce iced hibiscus tea gives an energizing lift for your afternoon slump. However, when we swap it for it’s unsweetened alternative, we drop down to 0 calories and NO added sugar. If you still want a little sweetness, order it unsweetened and add your own after.
8. Evolution Cold-Pressed Juice
If you aren’t a fan of coffee but need a boost of energy, try a cold-pressed HPP (High Pressure Processed) juice. Evolution makes some delicious juices that are available at all Starbucks nationwide. Opt for those with higher vegetable content and less total sugars, like the Sweet Greens, Emerald Greens or Green Devotion.
If you’re just at Starbucks for a business meeting and you’ve already had your fair share of coffee for the day, there is always the option of a sparkling water. Ask for a cup of ice to keep it extra cold.
Keep in mind that, with the options mentioned above, I’ve suggested skim milk for use in various coffee drinks. For those looking to switch to a plant-based option, Starbucks now offers almond milk or coconut milk that can be slightly lower in calories. Soy milk is also an option for a plant-based alternative. However, it is typically higher in calories than skim milk.
At the end of the day, be mindful of your choices and understand that you are the paying customer. Ask for modifications for your coffee drinks and try out some of the suggestions above for a healthier alternative.
Kristen DeAngelis is a Registered Dietitian, licensed in Ohio. She works with clients in her private practice, Kristen DeAngelis Wellness. Check out her website to learn more about working with her for personalized and individualized nutrition.