Starbucks has its fair share of sugary, calorie-packed drinks, but you can also get your caffeine fix without ruining your health goals.
For example, coffee and tea can be part of a balanced diet when consumed in moderation, says Eleana Kaidanian, RD, a nutritionist with her own private practice.
Moreover, both coffee and tea come with antioxidants, which — when consumed along with a healthy diet — may help reduce the risk of some diseases such as cancer.
Here are some healthy Starbucks drinks that can help you get your daily dose of caffeine. All cost and nutrition details listed here are based on the tall size Starbucks offers.
The Americano is a black coffee made with espresso shots and hot water. “In general, black coffee is healthier than coffee drinks with tons of additives like milk, cream, and sugar,” says Kaidanian. If you prefer your coffee chilled, opt for the iced version.
This decaf roast is a good option if you want a hot beverage without the kick of caffeine, says Kaidanian. She says people who have trouble sleeping at night or those who are trying to reduce their caffeine intake may also prefer a decaf drink. However, it’s worth noting that even decaf coffees do have some caffeine in them.
If you prefer your coffee with milk in it, opt for the cappuccino, which is unsweetened. You can add a dash of cinnamon, vanilla, or cacao powder to your drink to flavor it.
The cappuccino is usually made with 2% milk, which accounts for the higher calorie count; however, Kaidanian recommends getting it with 1% milk, skim milk, or a milk alternative to cut down on calories and saturated fat.
This drink pairs brewed espresso with almond milk and is sweetened with a honey blend. While Kaidanian says a homemade version made with unsweetened almond milk and a dash of honey will probably be healthier, you can make do with this one in a pinch. According to the Mayo Clinic, almond milk is a good source of healthy, unsaturated fats, as well as
If you like cold brews, opt for the nitro cold brew drink. Nitro coffee involves infusing coffee with bubbles of nitrogen gas, which helps make it thicker and richer without adding sugar or cream.
The earl grey tea is a zero-calorie, sugar-free option. A 2016 study found that, when part of a healthy, balanced diet, black tea can help promote
and fight obesity.
Teas also have approximately half the amount of caffeine as coffee drinks, says Kaidanian. She says you can adjust the amount of flavor and caffeine in your drink by taking the tea bag out early.
If you prefer green tea over black tea, you can opt for the jade citrus mint tea. Made with green tea, lemon verbena, lemongrass, and spearmint, it is a healthy option that offers antioxidants, says Kaidanian.
Green tea may also be a better option than coffee for pregnant and breastfeeding people, who should consume no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day.
If you prefer your tea with milk in it, opt for the London fog tea latte. Similar to the chai latte, but with less sugar, it comes with a tea bag, hot milk, and vanilla syrup.
You can make it healthier by replacing the default 2% milk with either low-fat milk or soy milk. You can also skip the vanilla syrup, which is sugar-based, and add a dash of turmeric to your latte instead, to season it and benefit from its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The sparkling peach nectarine green tea is a zero-calorie, unsweetened option that is ideal for those who prefer sparkling drinks to tea or coffee. It’s also a healthier alternative to soda, which is typically loaded with added sugars.
If you’re a matcha fan, try the iced matcha green tea latte. Matcha is a variant of green tea that is powdered; it’s therefore a more concentrated source of antioxidants and could help fight cancer and heart disease.
Since the matcha blend at Starbucks is sweetened, opting for one scoop instead of two can help you cut some sugar and calories from your drink.
The iced passion tea is a colorful drink made with hibiscus, lemongrass, and apple, shaken with ice. Though it mentions “tea” in the name, it doesn’t have any caffeine, so it’s a good option if you want a refreshing decaf drink.
If fruity drinks are more your style, opt for this summery kiwi and starfruit refresher that is made with fruit juice and real pieces of kiwi. Kiwi offers nutrients like vitamins A, B, C, and K, potassium, calcium, and
If none of these appeal, and you’d like to craft your own Starbucks order, these are some tips to keep in mind:
While Starbucks has some high-calorie drinks that are loaded with sugar and fat, they also have some healthier options that can help you get your caffeine fix without jeopardizing your intentions to be healthier.
Kaidanian recommends opting for basic drinks without additives as far as possible and using natural spices and syrups as flavorings, to keep the calorie count low. If your caffeine habit is keeping you up at night, she says to stick to decaf drinks or to have your coffee earlier in the day, at least six hours before you go to bed.
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