10 Ways to Cut Calories in Your Favorite Starbucks Drink

Updated on March 10, 2020
LisaKoski profile image

I love to find ways to make my daily cup of coffee just a little bit healthier.

There are plenty of ways to cut calories in your favorite Starbucks drink that actually save you money too.
There are plenty of ways to cut calories in your favorite Starbucks drink that actually save you money too. | Source

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.

Time to spill the beans on how to cut calories in your favorite Starbucks drink!
Time to spill the beans on how to cut calories in your favorite Starbucks drink! | Source

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.)
Try cutting sugar to cut calories!
Try cutting sugar to cut calories! | Source

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)
Whole Milk
180 Calories
150 Calories
100 Calories
130 Calories

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)
"Skinny" or "Light"
Flavored Latte
200 Calories
140 Calories
Coffee Frappuccino
180 Calories
90 Calories
These figures were taken from the nutrition menu found on the Starbucks website.

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
Milk Type
Caffè Latte
Iced Skinny Flavored Latte
Sugar free
Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte
SF Cinnamon Dolce
Coffee Frappuccino Light
Light Base
Caramel Frappuccino Light
Light Base
Black Shaken Ice Tea Lemonade
Shaken Sweet Tea
Brewed Coffee
These are not the only drinks that you can order at Starbucks for under 100 calories. All figures were taken from the nutrition menu on the Starbucks website.

Can you cut calories in your Starbucks drink?

Do you think you would try a lower calorie version of your favorite Starbucks drink?

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Interesting Study. Go sugar free is the easiest way to avoid calories from Starbucks Drink.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Lisa, congrats on HOTD, since I read this hub a year ago!

    • Kimberleyclarke profile image

      Kimberley Clarke 

      4 years ago from England

      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!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Congratulations for HOTD!

      Lot of valuable information in your hub. I will keep your suggestions in mind when I visit Starbucks next time.

      Thank you!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      5 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great hub with tons of information on how to have a healthy Starbucks drinks. Clever ideas. Voted up!

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 

      6 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thank you for all the information. I love Starbucks but hate all the calories. So I usually take option 1 and just skip it :)

      Voted up!!

    • ericahuise22 profile image


      6 years ago

      Hard to read this...Starbucks is my fav type of calories!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      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.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, we can reduce the calories without feeling deprived! Thanks for sharing, Lisa!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      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 Says profile image

      Heather Lavelle 

      6 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      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 :)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This hub contains very useful information! Thanks for all the details and helpful tips.

    • drpennypincher profile image

      Dr Penny Pincher 

      6 years ago from Iowa, USA

      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.


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