I love to find ways to make my daily cup of coffee just a little bit healthier.
How to Order Low-Calorie Starbucks Drinks
We caffeine addicts will do just about anything to keep that morning coffee routine alive and kicking. Whether you are looking to cut a few unnecessary calories from your diet or maybe even trim the price a bit on that expensive Starbucks concoction, here are ten simple tricks to ordering a lower calorie version of your favorite drink that can be implemented without taking away that sweet delicious factor.
Even doing just one of these little tricks can save you 20 calories or more, even if not all of them necessarily save you money too. At the very end, I provide a list of some drinks under 100 calories. You may be surprised to learn that you don't always have to sacrifice taste to get a lower calorie Starbucks beverage.
1. Take It out of Your Daily Routine
If you really want to save on the calories and add a couple of extra bucks to your daily budget, completely eliminating that morning latte can really help. Yes, it may be just a little bit painful breaking out of that long term relationship (seriously, caffeine withdrawals suck), but it can be worth it to reach your goals, whatever they may be.
If you really can't let go, consider using that coffee break as a reward or a treat, rather than an everyday indulgence. Personally, I could never completely give up a cafe visit with friends or the occasional pumpkin spice latte on a cold fall morning but it doesn't have to be an everyday thing.
2. Order a Smaller Size
By far the easiest way to trim calories and save on the daily costs of your Starbucks addiction is to order a smaller size of your favorite drink. For example, if you get a grande every morning, simply order a tall next time. You may be surprised at the difference in calories.
Just for a plain old latte, the table below shows you the difference in calories per size. Please note that this is if you are ordering with 2% milk. The figures were taken from the nutrition facts posted on the Starbucks website.
How Many Calories Are in a Latte?
Short (8 oz.)
Tall (12 oz.)
Grande (16 oz.)
Venti (20 oz.)
3. Go Sugar-Free
Sugar-free syrups at Starbucks have zero calories. That's right, zero. This is thanks to the fact that it is made with liquid sucralose rather than regular old sugar (I'm sure there's a bunch of other reasons and science behind it but I won't get into that here). With your regular syrup addition, you are packing on an extra 20 calories per pump. Might not seem like much but, consider the fact that (with some variation depending on what type of drink you order) a short has two pumps (40 calories), tall gets three (60 calories), grande has four (80 calories), and a venti gets a whopping five or six pumps of syrup (100-120 calories) and it might help you rethink getting regular syrup every day.
4. Less Syrup
If you can't go without that extra bit of sweetness then just try going with less. Just like the second option in this list of drinking a smaller size of your favorite Starbucks beverage to cut calories, simply ordering less syrup can be just as effective. It can also save you a bit of money if you're one of those who usually asks for more syrup than the recipe demands.
5. Try Non-Fat Milk
If you regularly order your drink without specifying what kind of milk you would like, chances are your barista is simply making it with whole or 2% milk. Try it nonfat next time. You'd be surprised at how much it really doesn't make a difference in taste and it's yet another easy way to cut calories in your favorite Starbucks drink.
For example, here is the difference in calories for a regular tall latte, according to the Starbucks website. As you can see, just going from whole milk to nonfat will save you 80 calories!
Calories of Different Milks in Starbucks Drinks
|Steamed Milk||Amount of Calories (in a tall latte)|
6. Order "Light" or "Skinny"
What does "skinny" actually mean at Starbucks? What are "light" Starbucks beverages? When someone orders a"skinny" drink at Starbucks, it means that they want their drink made with nonfat milk, sugar-free syrup, and no whipped cream. "Light" usually refers to frappuccinos. It means that the customer would like their frap made with a light base, which is sugar-free and made with skim milk so it contains fewer calories than the regular base. It is important to note that, with light frappuccinos, you still have to request no whip cream if that is what you desire and you have to specify sugar free syrup as well.
Skinny/Light Starbucks Drinks vs Regular Drinks
|Starbucks Drink (Tall)||Regular||"Skinny" or "Light"|
7. Skip the Whipped Cream
If you're okay with a lower calorie version of your favorite Starbucks beverage without the whipped cream on top, then simply ordering your drink with no whip is yet another easy way to trim off extra calories. This can save you 50–110 calories, according to Starbucks.com. It's also probably one of the easiest ways to cut calories in your Starbucks drink because it doesn't really affect the overall flavor of the drink.
8. Get Extra Foam
The foamier you let your drink be, the fewer calories it will cost you. This is why cappuccinos have so many fewer calories than a plain old latte. A tall latte with nonfat milk at Starbucks has 100 calories, while a tall nonfat cappuccino has 60.
9. Get It Iced
While adding extra foam takes away calories by adding a little extra airiness to your drink, getting your coffee iced does the same trick by replacing some of the milk with, well, ice. An tall nonfat iced latte will cost you 70 calories, compared to a normal tall nonfat latte with steamed milk at 100 calories. It is important to note that there is a difference in taste between an iced drink and a regular hot one. Most of my friends hate iced coffee while it is my personal favorite.
10. Give it an Extra Shot of Caffeine
An extra shot of caffeine will not only give you an extra boost of energy in the morning, but it will also replace about an ounce of milk. A shot of espresso adds a little more to the price of your drink and is only five calories. A double tall latte is only about ten calories less than a regular one.
Low Calorie Starbucks Drinks
Perhaps your favorite Starbucks drink is just too delicious to change. Have no fear, sometimes the best things should be left as a once in a while treat or reward for making it through a tough Monday. If you are looking for a new favorite Starbucks drink with fewer calories that you can enjoy every day, here is a list of Starbucks drinks at or under 100 calories.
Starbucks Drinks Under 100 Calories
|Starbucks Drink||Size||Milk Type||Syrup||Calories|
Iced Skinny Flavored Latte
Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte
SF Cinnamon Dolce
Coffee Frappuccino Light
Caramel Frappuccino Light
Black Shaken Ice Tea Lemonade
Shaken Sweet Tea
Can you cut calories in your Starbucks drink?
Tanya on March 02, 2016:
Interesting Study. Go sugar free is the easiest way to avoid calories from Starbucks Drink.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on March 02, 2016:
Lisa, congrats on HOTD, since I read this hub a year ago!
Kimberley Clarke from England on March 02, 2016:
Fabulous article! There was a big news splash in the UK the other day that a latte *without* added sugar contains around 25 grams of sugar. That is, the natural sugar that comes from milk. So...we're doomed! I had to give up my Starbucks addiction, it was costing me £6 per day. I gave up coffee altogether two years ago and have never looked back!
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on March 02, 2016:
Congratulations for HOTD!
Lot of valuable information in your hub. I will keep your suggestions in mind when I visit Starbucks next time.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on March 03, 2015:
Great hub with tons of information on how to have a healthy Starbucks drinks. Clever ideas. Voted up!
Michelle Scoggins from Fresno, CA on June 29, 2014:
Thank you for all the information. I love Starbucks but hate all the calories. So I usually take option 1 and just skip it :)
ericahuise22 on February 19, 2014:
Hard to read this...Starbucks is my fav type of calories!
Crystal Tatum from Georgia on October 07, 2013:
I admit I'm a Starbucks addict. I never liked coffee until I tasted it there and it is habit forming. I usually get the cafe latte, though not non-fat:( Great tips here for sure. Voted up and sharing.
Michelle Liew from Singapore on October 05, 2013:
Yes, we can reduce the calories without feeling deprived! Thanks for sharing, Lisa!
FlourishAnyway from USA on October 05, 2013:
Oh, thank goodness I never got hooked on coffee, but I have an addiction to Dr. Pepper that is so bad I drink it for breakfast. At least coffee has purported health benefits. I'm sure this hub will do very well for you!
Heather from Arizona on October 04, 2013:
I was so hoping to see my favorite drink on your table, but nope :( It must have a ton of calories :( Oh well. Great article :)
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 03, 2013:
This hub contains very useful information! Thanks for all the details and helpful tips.
Dr Penny Pincher from Iowa, USA on October 02, 2013:
I was surprised to learn that even black coffee has calories. The good news is that black coffee has only about 1 calorie per 8 ounces. If you can get used to drinking black coffee, you don't need to worry about calories. Good tips on reducing calories if black coffee is not for you.