You CAN mix convenience with healthy eating! Learn what to order at Starbucks when trying to lose weight.
As an RD specializing in weight management, it’s an important part of my job to frequent places like Starbucks so I can properly advise my clients as to the healthier available options. Yeah, right. I just like my Frappuccinos. All kidding aside, I am asked all the time about what to order at Starbucks when trying to lose weight. So, I’ve created a cheat sheet for the better-for-you items available at your local Starbucks.
It’s not just for coffee. Whenever I suggest Starbucks as a fast food alternative, people generally don’t realize that you can purchase a quick and healthy breakfast, lunch, snack or even a light dinner there and their locations are certainly plentiful. While new items are introduced all the time, the following are my current picks when ordering food at Starbucks.
My personal favorites:
Spinach, Feta & Cage Free Egg White Breakfast Wrap– with 290 calories and 19 grams of protein, it’s filled with whole grains and veggies. If I’m running around at lunchtime, this is my preferred grab and go meal, and for lunch, you cannot beat the price!
Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon & Cage Free Egg White Breakfast Sandwich– with cage-free egg whites, reduced-fat turkey bacon, reduced-fat white cheddar cheese and an organic wheat English muffin, it’s a satisfying breakfast for 230 calories and 16g of protein. Enjoy a tall nonfat latte without added sweeteners to round out the meal and boost the protein content over 20 grams.
Gluten-Free Smoked Canadian Bacon & Egg that’s prepared in a certified gluten-free environment and sealed so there is no cross contamination with any of the gluten unfriendly sandwiches, bagels and pastries. For 280 calories, it packs 18 grams of protein. Have a coffee with ¼ cup of milk to hit my 20g protein mark for the morning.
Sous Vide Egg Bites: Egg White & Red Pepper Bites made with egg whites prepared using the French “sous vide” technique with Monterrey jack cheese, spinach and roasted peppers. Containing only 170 calories and 13 grams of protein they are a great way to start the morning. Add a tall nonfat latte to complete the meal (without added sweetener or with a no calorie packet or syrup)
Classic Whole Grain Oatmeal: A combo of steel-cut and rolled oats with separate packets of dried fruit, a nut medley and brown sugar, also available with blueberries and agave syrup. While I love oatmeal, I try to make sure to consume at least 20 grams of protein at breakfast. If carbs are your thing, this is a much better choice than a pastry or bagel. You can always use ½ of the dried fruit and nuts and skip the brown sugar or enjoy the blueberries without the agave. This will keep the calories in check and then you can add a tall nonfat latte (skinny or unsweetened) to add 10 extra grams of protein. Note: the plain oatmeal contains 160 calories, toppings are additional, about 100 calories each.
For a nutritious and reasonable lunch:
Zesty Chicken & Black Bean Salad Bowl– which features grilled chicken, black beans, corn, jicama, tomatoes, feta, spring greens and quinoa with a side of mild chili vinaigrette. For 360 calories, it’s a “fast food” bargain and you can trim a few extra off by using the fork-dip method for the dressing.
Eggs & Cheese Protein Box– packs 23 grams of protein with 460 calories. You’ll enjoy 2 cage-free hardboiled eggs, sliced apples, grapes and white cheddar cheese with multigrain muesli bread and a packet of honey peanut butter. It’s like a dreamy bento box. Kids love this one too!
Organic Avocado Spread: If you happen to choose bagel or another type of bread like the Sprouted Grain Vegan Bagel, instead of butter or cream cheese try the new avocado spread for 90 calories of heart healthy, creamy goodness. That’s a vegan meal you can pair with coffee and your non-dairy milk of choice.
Siggis Icelandic Skyr (Yogurt): For a quick protein grab, you can find Siggis nonfat yogurt which is even thicker than traditional Greek yogurt. You’ll enjoy 15 grams of satisfying protein for only 120 calories and 9 grams of sugar. It’s a great addition to plain oatmeal for breakfast or with a sliced banana to add fiber.
Based on Starbucks tips to lighten up beverages the Barista Pick is a Tall (12 fl. oz.) Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte. This contains sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup, nonfat steamed milk and a foam topping lightly sprinkled with cinnamon. I also think this is one of Starbucks best kept calorie saving secrets. For only 100 calories you also benefit from a bonus of 9 grams of protein. It’s also my favorite Frappuccino flavor of the moment…order a tall Coffee Frappuccino Light with sugar-free Cinnamon Dolce Syrup. If you need whip- ask for “light whip” to save some extra calories. Without the whip a tall contains only 90 calories!
If you love flavored coffee but not sugar, your best bet is an Iced Skinny Flavored Latte which is made with espresso, nonfat milk, the sugar-free syrup of your choice and ice for only 80 calories in 16 ounces. Make sure to ask your barista which sugar-free syrups are available, sometimes flavors are retired and added. Last I checked, my Starbucks only featured sugar-free vanilla, cinnamon dolce and the lower sugar mocha.
For my dairy-free friends, Starbucks has offered soymilk for quite some time but recently added almond milk and coconut milk. These do have some added sugar and some fat from the almonds and coconut, but the calories are reasonable and they add a creamier texture than skim milk (but significantly less protein). It’s a trade-off, make your decision based on your personal goals.
A Tall Flat White with:
-Nonfat milk= 100 calories and 10 grams of protein. It’s just brewed espresso and milk.
-Almondmilk= 70 calories and 2 grams protein.
-Coconutmilk= 100 calories and 1 gram protein
-Soymilk= 140 calories and 8 grams protein
The nonfat milk contains natural sweetness from the lactose in the milk, with sugar added to the almond, coconut and soymilks. You decide your preference.
I’ve also tried the Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Macchiato with sugar-free Cinnamon Dolce syrup and no extra caramel drizzle. I don’t have an exact calorie count on that but it’s likely close to 100 and the almondmilk adds a neat creaminess.
For die-hard pure at heart coffee drinkers, try the Cold Brew for only 5 calories with a splash of the milk of your choice. That’s likely the lowest calorie choice at Starbucks that still allows you to get your caffeine fix as needed.
FYI: For those who prefer one type of sweetener over the other, Starbucks website states that their light Frappuccino syrup used in their skinny drinks contains stevia (Rebaudioside A) as the sweetener.
If you have any additional tips or tricks for what to order at Starbucks when trying to lose weight, please share them with me in the comments below 🙂
For my similar review on what to order at Dunkin Donuts when trying to lose weight, click here.