Healthier Drinks at Starbucks

Healthier Drinks at Starbucks
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I'm a Certified Health Coach for highly sensitive peri/menopausal women, with advanced training in reducing inflammation and improving gut health. I clear up and sort out the nuts and bolts of an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, so you don't have to, and hand it to you in quick and easy ways you will love.
I am a mom of three living in Southern Texas.  I enjoy reading, gardening and anything that has to do with food!
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Healthier drinks at Starbucks are easy to find if you know what to look for. Here is your guide for choosing healthy options.


I was on vacation this past week and went to a small Starbucks inside a resort (see the video above).  When I was there I was able to order a healthier drink by knowing what custom options were available.  This is one of the best things about Starbucks – its ability to customize your drink in many ways. And, planning your custom choices ahead will help you make a healthier choice. Pull up the app before arriving at Starbucks to see your options. This way, you have time to make good decisions without the pressure of a line behind you.

The NOT Healthier Drinks at Starbucks

First, we will start with the biggest sugar and calorie bombs.

Avoid the Venti Size (unless you order something with zero calories)

All these venti-size drinks have over 60 grams of sugar:
Iced White Mocha
Hot White Chocolate
Signature Caramel Hot Chocolate
Signature Hazelnut Chocolate
Caramel Frappucino
(Note: the milk you add alters the amount of sugar.)

What’s more, to compare the 60 grams of sugar in these not healthier drinks at Starbucks, consider that, on average, a 12-ounce soda has 39 grams of added sugar. And the American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams of added sugar for women daily. (1) Also, as you age and go through perimenopause and menopause, lower levels of estrogen cause you to be more susceptible to insulin resistance. Therefore, watching your sugar intake becomes even more critical.

Highest Sugar Starbucks Drinks (more than 20 grams of sugar in the Tall size):

First, these are the Espresso drinks:
Cafe Latte
Caramel Macchiato
White Mocha
Second, these are the Cold Coffees:
Caramel Macchiato, Iced
Mocha, Iced
White Mocha, Iced
Third, these are the Hot Chocolates:
Classic Hot Chocolate
Hot White Chocolate
Hot Chocolate, Signature
Caramel Hot Chocolate, Signature
Hazelnut Hot Chocolate, Signature
Chocolate, Iced
White Chocolate, Iced
Praline Cream Hot Chocolate
Fourth, these are the Frappuccinos:
Coffee Frappuccino
Caramel Frappuccino
Espresso Frappuccino
Mocha Frappuccino
White Mocha Frappuccino
Java Chip Frappuccino
Chocolate Cream Frappuccino
Vanilla Cream Frappuccino
Caramel Cream Frappuccino
White Chocolate Cream Frappuccino
Strawberries and Cream Frappuccino
Cookies and Cream Frappuccino
Double Chocolately Chip Frappuccino
Matcha Cream Frappuccino
Chai Tea Frappuccino
Gingerbread Cream Frappuccino
Toffee Nut Cream Frappuccino
Caramel Waffle Cream Frappuccino
Fifth, these are the Lattes:
Chai Tea Latte
Iced Chai Tea Latte
Toffee Nut Latte
Gingerbread Latte
Caramel Waffle Latte
Iced Toffee But Latte
Iced Gingerbread Latte
Toffee Nut Cold Cream Brew

Highest Calorie Not Healthier Starbucks Drinks (over 1,000 calories in the Tall size):

Mocha Espresso
White Mocha Espresso
Iced Mocha
Iced White Mocha
Classic Hot Chocolate
Hot White Chocolate
Hot White Chocolate, Signature
Caramel Hot Chocolate, Signature
Hazelnut Hot Chocolate, Signature
Iced Chocolate
Iced White Chocolate
Praline Cookie Hot Chocolate
White Mocha Frappuccino
Java Chip Frappuccino
Caramel Cream Frappuccino
Strawberries and Cream Frappuccino
Cookies and Cream Frappuccino
Double Chocolatley Chip Cream Frappuccino
Gingerbread Latte
Caramel Waffle Latte

The Healthier Drinks at Starbucks

No need to worry! All is not lost. You can keep going to Starbucks and enjoy delicious seasonal drinks. With this aim, here is the guidance you need to navigate the sugary, high-calorie beverages at Starbucks.

Basic Healthier Drinks at Starbucks

The first thing to realize is that most basic drinks are mostly sugar-free and calorie-free.
Cafe Americano
Cold brew
Cafe Misto
Coffee, Iced
Americano, Iced
Iced black tea, Classic Shaken
Green tea, Classic Shaken
Hibiscus tea, Classic Shaken
Herbal tea bags

Adding Milks to Your Basic Drinks

Then, if you choose you can add milks to your basic Starbucks drinks and keep them healthier.
Soy milk – 13 grams of sugar
Nonfat Milk – 12 grams of sugar
2% Milk – 12 grams of sugar
Whole Milk – 12 grams of sugar
Coconut Milk – 7 grams of sugar
Oatmilk – 7 grams of sugar
Almond Milk – 3 grams of sugar
Brave (half and half) – 1 gram of sugar

Adding Sweeteners to Your Basic Drinks

And, things get a little complicated when you want a sweeter drink at Starbucks and still want it to be healthier.

Are sugar-free syrups to the rescue when trying to cut back on sugar? Not necessarily. Sugar is not beneficial to your health in large amounts, but neither are chemical sweeteners. If I had to choose between the two, I would prefer a small amount of sugar over chemical sweeteners. These artificial sweeteners are associated with poor sleep and hyperactivity and some with cancer.

Starbucks also offers stevia packets, a natural sugar alternative, to avoid any sugar. Cinnamon also adds a hint of sweetness, so you can try sprinkling this on.

Or, you could cut back on how many Starbucks syrup pumps you add to flavor your healthier drink. Here is the most recent information about the sugar in the most popular syrups:
Classic syrup – 1 pump = 5 grams of sugar
Vanilla syrup – 1 pump = 5 grams of sugar
Caramel syrup – 1 pump = 6 grams of sugar
Hazelnut sugar – 1 pump = 4 grams of sugar

A typical Starbucks drink has three to five pumps of syrup. So, choosing only one syrup pump will drastically reduce the sugar and carbohydrates in your cup.

Other Healthier Drinks at Starbucks

Keto Coffee

Keto coffee, isn’t found at Starbucks. But you can create a full-fat coffee drink that gives you a low-carb way to gain energy. This drink is said to assist in weight loss if consumed as your first food of the day, extending your overnight fast. Order any of the basic coffees listed above and add full-fat heavy cream and 1/2 t of cinnamon.

Green Tea/Matcha

Green tea helps with weight loss because it contains catechins, antioxidants that boost metabolism. It’s also believed that catechins may help burn fat by increasing energy expenditure. Plus, green tea has antioxidants, so it helps keep you healthy. Matcha is a type of green tea with an elevated level of antioxidants. But Starbucks Match powder contains sugar. For example, the Matcha Tea Latte, Tall, contains 24 grams of sugar.

Starbucks offers these green tea drinks that are low in sugar:
Iced Green Tea
Emperor’s Clouds and Mist

How to Make Any Drink a Healthier Drink at Starbucks

No matter what drink you order, you can make it healthier.  Using the Teavana London Fog Tea Latte as an example, we can make this drink healthier with a few custom options. Here is what we start with for a Tall size:

140 calories
22 grams of sugar
3 grams of fat
5 grams of protein

Milk Foam
3 pumps of vanilla syrup

Teavana London Fog Latte is my favorite healthier drink to order. I prefer to delete the syrup pumps and add stevia instead. But, if I choose only one syrup pump, that drops the calories to 100 and the sugar level down to 12 grams, with a small amount of protein and fat to balance this out.

If you choose to have a drink treat at Starbucks, you can make it healthier by making a few custom options. Take one of the seasonal drinks as an example.

Caramel Brulee Latte, Tall
310 calories
36 grams of sugar
11 grams of fat
9 grams of protein
3 pumps of Caramel Syrup
Whipped Cream
Caramel Brulee Topping

So, to make this a healthier Starbucks drink first omit the whipped cream with mono and diglycerides, carrageenan, and potassium sorbate. choose cinnamon to sprinkle on top instead of the caramel brulee topping, which is almost all sugar and corn syrup. Also, reduce the sugar by choosing only one pump of caramel syrup. This combination should leave 122 calories and 12 grams of sugar from the 2% milk and 20 calories and 6 grams of sugar from the one pump of caramel syrup; this is a much healthier drink. Also, you will get the cute holiday cup it’s served in and not miss out on the sugar crash and additional weight on your hips.

Woman holding Starbucks drink


In Summary, Starbucks can be a place where you drown yourself in sugar and calories or a place where, with a few critical choices, you can enjoy a seasonal beverage while sticking to your slim, healthy lifestyle. A few sizes and drinks contain too much sugar and calories.

However, all of Starbucks’ basic drinks are healthier due to being low in sugar and calories. Among the milk and sweetener options exist healthier choices. Planning and taking advantage of Starbucks’ customizing options ahead of your visit allows you to plan ahead and ensure you leave with the best choice. Swing by the coffeeshop, pull up this article and enjoy a healthier drink.

If you want a coffeehouse drink right now, check out my Easy Pumpkin Chai Latte Recipe.


Also, in my cookbook, SHORTCUT REAL FOOD: 20-minute meals cookbook, there are six healthier drink recipes, including Vanilla Protein Latte and My Chai Latte. Learn more about and purchase SHORTCUT REAL FOOD: 20-minute meals here.


For more guidance in living an easy healthy lifestyle, check out these articles:

9 Healthy Smoothie Recipe Boosters
Healthy Meal Planning Tips for Busy Families
The Key to Easy Healthy Quick Meals
10 Healthier Habits to Easily Lose Weight


Apples provide a natural sweetness that makes them perfect for snacking and adding to dishes. They contain fiber, vitamin C, potassium, antioxidants, and other nutrients that promote good health. An apple a day may indeed keep the doctor away. 

To download your free 9 Healthier Habits for a Healthy You guide to get (or keep) your health on track, sign up below.


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