With spring fast approaching, this is the time of year to cut back the calories and start hitting the gym. If you’re anything like me, a little bit of dieting couldn’t hurt after all that holiday eating. In this series, I will describe some healthy food/drink options at popular chain restaurants and shops. If you can’t give up your daily Starbucks or only have time for McDonald’s drive-thru, you can still eat at your favorite places without busting those New Year’s resolutions.
Fresh Drip Coffee – If you enjoy regular drip coffee, sticking with this will save you cash and tons of calories. Avoid the espresso prices and do your body a favor by ordering drip coffee instead of the specialty sugar laden beverages. If you need to, add a touch of sweetener and/or milk and you’ll still be running much fewer calories and fat than some of the other choices. Try adding some of their complementary cinnamon or cocoa for a calorie-free flavor enhancement.
Unsweetened Espresso Beverages – Latte, Cappuccino, Au Lait/Misto, Flat White are all relatively healthy choices from Starbucks. A plain latte or au lait is my goto drink from a coffee shop. For me, it’s the perfect balance between the bitter espresso and creamy milk. Sticking with an unflavored grande latte in favor of a pumpkin spice latte will save you over 120 calories.
“Skinny” Beverages – If you can’t resist the tempting flavored coffees and seasonal offerings, opt for the “skinny” version of the drink. The skinny options use skim milk and artificial sweeteners to cut back on calories and fat. While I generally wouldn’t recommend artificial sweeteners, it cuts out almost half the calories than the original drink. Also, in a regular coffee, you can ask for a pump of sugar-free flavoring if you want to avoid the sugar-packed syrups.
Tea – If you’re into tea, many of Starbuck’s tea options tend to be less of a calorie burden than coffee drinks. Plain brewed tea is always a good choice even with a little sweetener. Also, look into some of the Teavana shaken iced teas for a lighter option.
Oatmeal – The Classic Whole-Grain Oatmeal and Blueberry Oatmeal are always nutritious choices. The oats/fruit/nuts will give you energy for the day while providing minimal fat and sugar. The Chocolate Banana Oatmeal is not quite at the level of the previous 2, but is better than most of the bakery treats.
Yogurt – The yogurt parfait options, like oatmeal, offer nutritional benefits while staying lower in fat and carbs. All yogurt parfaits are under 280 calories and high in protein. They are pretty high in sugar, but better than many other options.
English Muffin Sandwiches – The egg & cheese or egg white & turkey bacon breakfast sandwiches are under 300 calories and are high in protein and nutrients. Avoid the sausage version to lower your fat intake significantly.
- Go for skim milk or semi-skim milk instead of whole milk. Choosing skim milk instead of whole milk in a Grande espresso beverage will save you around 85 calories and 11 grams of fat.
- Watch your portions. Switching from Venti to Tall can half a drink’s number of calories
- Go for plain drinks instead of flavored. Or sweeten with a small amount of sweetener.
- Go without whipped cream. Dropping the whipped cream can save you up to 70 calories and 7 grams of fat.
- Avoid sweet pastries like muffins and scones.
Which restaurant would you like to learn about next? Let me know in the comments.
All nutritional information for this post was gathered from starbucks.com