Without a doubt, Starbucks has its fair share of sugar-packed high-calorie beverages. Though delicious, these drinks can have the equivalent of a whole glazed donut in calories, fat, and sugar.
Consider the following: According to their website, a basic grande Starbucks Caramel Ribbon Frappuccino clocks in at 470 calories, 60 grams of sugar, and 22 grams of fat. To compare, a Krispy Kreme glazed donut logs in at 190 calories, 10 grams of sugar, and 90 grams of fat. With those stats, neither of these is a healthy dietary option. But, incredibly, the Krispy Kreme donut contains less than half the calories of the Starbucks coffee drink!
Fortunately, there’s no need to go cold turkey on your Starbucks habit. Your favorite coffee drink can meet your dietary goals by knowing which options are healthier than others. Here are the healthiest drinks at Starbucks.
Five Healthy Starbucks Drink Options
Starbucks has a variety of healthy choices, but you need to know they exist. Furthermore, the very thing that draws people to Starbucks – the ability to modify every drink – also allows you to choose healthy alternatives without impacting your caffeine fix or compromising flavor.
Iced Brown Sugar Oat Milk Shaken Espresso
The Iced Brown Sugar Oat Milk Shaken Espresso at Starbucks is a mouthful to say, but your mouth will thank you for it. With just 120 calories, 12 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of fat in the grande version, this drink has the chilled caffeine-goodness of a Frappuccino without the sugar overload. You can make this espresso drink even healthier by halving the amount of sugar.
Honey Almond Milk Flat White
The touch of honey in the Honey Almond Milk Flat White is perfect for anyone who has a sweet tooth. A tall version has just 120 calories, 18 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of fat. And according to the Mayo Clinic, honey comes with a load of health perks, from reducing heart disease to fighting inflammation.
Caffeine lovers searching for healthier drinks can turn to Starbucks’ Cafe Misto. Perfect for those groggy mornings, a grande version of this drink boasts 150 milligrams of caffeine. A standard 8-ounce coffee drink, according to the Food and Drug Administration, usually contains about 80 to 100 milligrams of caffeine. So with 110 calories, 10 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of fat, the Cafe Misto is a healthy beverage choice packed with caffeine.
A “doppio” of the Espresso Macchiato is a 1.6-ounce of caffeine-goodness. This drink comes unsweetened, therefore boasting 0 grams of sugar. It does, however, come with a decadent dollop of velvety foamed milk and 0 fat. Its sparse ingredient list makes the 15-calorie Espresso Macchiato a simple yet healthy and satisfying way to enjoy your caffeine pick-me-up.
Iced Matcha Lemonade
If you’re down for Starbucks but not in the mood for a coffee-bean drink, try an Iced Matcha Lemonade. With just 120 calories and no fat in a grande, it's delicious and guilt-free. In addition, you can ask to reduce the 27 grams of sugar by half to limit your sugar intake. The matcha tea provides 80 milligrams of caffeine, lemonade gives the drink a fruity sweetness, and the melding of the two is perfect for a warm afternoon.
Is Caffeine Good for You?
Caffeine comes with many health benefits. Information about caffeine from John Hopkins Medicine indicates that:
- Caffeine drinkers are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
- Two cups of coffee a day may prevent heart failure.
- Coffee consumers are more likely to have liver enzyme levels within a healthy range compared to the general population.
That said, too much of a good thing can be harmful. So, as with most things in life, moderation is key when you’re consuming caffeine beverages. Excessive caffeine intake can cause jitteriness, increased blood pressure, and anxiety. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day (about five 8-ounce cups of coffee) for most people.
Making Healthy Starbucks Orders
There’s no shame in your weakness for Starbucks! Choose the drinks above or order the low-sugar and low-fat version of your usual order. You can still enjoy the drinks you love by paying close attention to ingredients and modifying them when necessary.