Deep down, you know that it's time to say goodbye to daily Frappuccino happy hours, but that doesn't mean you have to give up your caffeine fix for good. Making healthier choices can start in the coffee shop line when you know what to order.
Just switching your usual Starbucks pick from regular to skinny alone can slash calories in half — that's a serious payoff. Try one of these five fully caffeinated, equally satisfying options below the next time you hit up Starbucks, and learn which sneaky sugar traps to avoid when you're looking to lighten up in general.
Anytime, anywhere, a regular cappuccino counts as a great order. Don't feel like you need to order them skim, either. Since they're made with foamed milk, cappuccinos already clock in as low-cal even though the creaminess still feels like a treat. A tall made with whole milk at Starbucks contains only 110 calories!
Add flavor with cocoa powder, cinnamon, or vanilla, and you’ve got a delicious morning bev with 6 grams of protein and about 75 milligrams of caffeine — or more if you add extra shots.
A misto with low- or non-fat milk is also a good bet if you're looking for an extra jolt. They're made with coffee instead of espresso and use less milk than a latte, which also cuts back on calories. You can order these with a pump of sugar-free syrup if you’re looking for a little sweetness too!
Whether you pick black, green, or one of the unsweetened seasonal flavors, these are virtually calorie-free and super hydrating. Plus, they’re a great little pick-me-up if you want to ease up on the caffeine. Herbal decaf blends include less than 15 milligrams, while caffeinated black and green teas still pack around 45 milligrams. For comparison, a grande iced coffee contains more than three times that, and there's even more in a cold brew.
Since baristas make these with a sugar substitute, they’re fine for a sweet-tasting treat — especially since they also pack up to 15 grams of protein in a grande version! This is a perfect choice for those times when you want a fancier bev without overdoing it on calories. There's only 120 in a grande skinny vanilla compared to 250 in the regular version.
Fans of cold brew coffee love the creaminess and smooth taste. The prolonged brewing process also makes them seem a little sweeter, so you’re less inclined to add extra sugar. Plus, cold brew can contain more caffeine than traditional iced brew, so it's a better “bang for your buck” if you’re looking for a big boost.
Whipped Toppings: At Starbucks, these add about 150 calories just from sugar and fat. So while delicious, it’s not going to make you feel full or caffeinated — the two main goals of going there in the first place!
Iced Teas With Lemonade: While a grande white, green, or passion fruit tea with lemonade contains only about 90 calories, it’s also packed with 22 grams of added sugar. That's only 2 grams away from the American Heart Association’s recommended amount for the entire day for women. Although they taste refreshing, sweet drinks can also make you thirstier, so you’re better off spending your $$$ on a venti unsweetened version and adding sugar on your own.
Tea Lattes: The tea powder used to make the lattes contains added sugar, not to mention the sweetener or syrup that’s added on top of that. If you order almond, coconut, or soy milk, these also sneak in more added sugar compared to the regular kind. If you're really craving one, ask for a regular brewed chai tea of any size with a side of hot milk.
Frozen Drinks: They're delicious, but unless you’re specifically going to Starbucks for a dessert in Frappuccino form, skip ’em. These are often just sugar, ice, and milk with a little bit of coffee, not mention whipped cream and syrups.
Juices and Smoothies: Again, these are mostly just concentrated sources of added sugar, which can make you thirstier and won’t fill you up or keep you satisfied.