Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Temptation Tamer: Starbucks

So you're meeting your friend from wayyy back for a coffee and you've agreed to meet up for a long over-due natter at your local Starbucks. I am a huge lover of coffee, in fact scrap that and say I am a huge lover of Starbucks products altogether. No matter how much people try to deny it, there has (and probably always will be) a small sense of luxury and indulgence when you sink into one of their crazy-comfy sofas and chat for hours on end with friends.

Coffee shops in general are definitely my Achilles heel when it comes to eating clean and healthily, but over the past year or so I have carefully narrowed down the Starbucks menu to help prevent a treat from becoming my whole daily intake of calories - and I thought it was about time I shared my findings!
All of these drinks are going to be based on the medium (grande) size beverages, for simplicity's sake - if you're having a catch-up a small probably wouldn't be enough anyway if you're anything like me!
I also don't know many people who will go to Starbucks and have a black coffee or settle for a cup of tea so I'll exclude those from my post - but if you do decide to be super healthy and go for a 17 calories americano or a zero calorie green tea then massive kudos to you - you have more elf-restraint than I do!! :)

I put the vanilla spiced latte at the top of the to kind of show you how just because you may choose to have your chosen beverage 'skinny' doesn't necessary make it good for you! Yes if it's your cheat day and you aren't as bothered about your calorie intake, changing to skimmed milk can help keep a few of those calories off, but unless it's a special occasion I always try to stay away from any of their 'speciality' drinks.
As for the others, what your dietary requirements (and if your having anything else!) will determine what sort of thing you fancy. If you're super bothered about calories, then a skinny cappuccino is a great choice at just over 80 calories. It also has the fewest amount of carbohydrates out of all of them which is great!
If you don't fancy that then a skinny latte is probably your next bet, with 12.6g of protein - great for people on high-protein, low-carb diets! - and not having too many more carbs more than the cappuccino. If you do like your hot bevvy sweet though, then go for a skinny Caramel Macchiato! It's still under 200 calories and has 10.7 grams of protein, but watch out for the carb content, at 34.9g its a little hefty no matter what type of 'diet' you're on, so maybe skip the cake you were planning on having with it. ;)

If it's sunny outside or you just fancy something cool to slurp on, then an Iced Caffe Latte (skinny, naturally!) is probably your best bet - can't go far wrong when it's under 90 calories. A lot of people think fruity smoothies and the like are the best option for being healthy, when it reality they're not that healthy for you at all! Whilst they may provide you with one of your five-a-day (so if you're on 4/5 and want to top it up then go for it!), they're packed with carbs - and I wouldn't be surprised if Starbucks whack syrup etc in there to enhance the flavour a little. If you're not bothered about carbohydrates, and are just trying to lower your fat consumption, then their fruit Frappuccinos are a great choice.
If you do fancy something more 'Starbucksy' then the iced version of the Caramel Macchiato is the perfect option. Lower in carbs than the fruit Frappuccinos, and also having a higher protein content, its a great choice if you want the taste of Starbucks, without the calories.
Whilst I couldn't find any nutritional information on their website (strange!), my personal favourite beverage at Starbucks is their Lime Refresha! It literally is the nicest drink ever, followed closely by their Berry Hibiscus one. They're low in calories from what I remember of the menu boards at my local, but I assume that they'll probably be quite high in carbs because of the juice which they put in it.

Please let me know if this has been an interesting read for you! If you like it, then I'll probably come back next week with a similar post featuring another store or maybe even the 'healthiest' of the food options at Starbucks! :)
What is your favourite Starbucks drink? Do you try and keep it healthy, or do you like to indulge a little? :)

Disclaimer: Information was taken from the Starbucks nutritional content PDF file which is available on their website. The method used was to award points for the highest protein, lowest fat, lowest carbohydrate and sugar, as well as calorie content.
This is a light-hearted look at the food and drinks industry where I give alternative food options, and should in no way be taken as being scientifically proven.


  1. As a huge Starbucks fan this has been a bit of an eye opener. Definitely gonna go for one of the lower calorie options next time and I must say no to whipped cream!!
    Cute blog as well, very good little read

    1. Thank you lovely! Definitely give them a go, they're still just as yummy, I promise! :)

      Rhiannon xx

  2. I used to work at Starbucks when I was in uni and we got free partner beverages.... I dread to think of the amount of calories I consumed. On the plus side, I kind of sickened myself off them & now I don't get cravings. x

    1. Oh wow that would have been a nightmare for me! I definitely would have left that job a lot chubbier than when I started with free reign over their drinks haha ;)

      Rhiannon xx

  3. Ah this is such a great post! I've recently just started a bit of a healthy over haul, and I went to starbucks yesterday and it was sooo tempting to just get a frappucino or something! I resisted though :)

    great blog!

    1. Aww thank you, I hope it's of some use to you! :) Good luck with your healthy eating goals - let me know how you get on! :)

      Rhiannon xx

  4. I think this is such a interesting post, because so few people know how many calories they are drinking. Of course a larger drink would be more 'filling' but oh my gosh it's so hard not to nab a tiny snack along side and then...oh my! But still once here and then is not a serious problem, I'm on a mega green tea kick (boring!)but if I was not I'd go for the Blackberry&Raspberry Frap as it's delish! xxx
    The food side could be a darn good read, often when I look at cal/fat contents on menu's it's really surprising (I sound such.a.bore)

    1. Drinks are so sneaky with their calories! And the food at Starbucks is so hard to resist too haha :)
      Great job on drinking green tea it's such a great option if you're trying to keep healthy. If you find yourself getting bored of it, Twinings do heaps of different flavours which are all super yummy so maybe give them a try! :)
      I'll try and get the food Starbucks post up in the near future! :)

      Rhiannon xxx

  5. Ooo this is some nice facts to know as they're chocolate frappacino's are just way too much of a temptation for me. I never know what they actually do that is skinny as unless I'm just blind, I haven't seen it. Need to start being a bit healthier when we go out. Thanks for this x


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