I can’t remember the last time I didn’t start my morning with a big cup of coffee. It has been something of a ritual for me the past four or five years. In college I would brew some coffee to take with me in a travel mug to class and when I got my first job, I started brewing my coffee just as I headed out the door for a morning run to come home to the sweet aroma filling my apartment. But on days I wanted to treat myself (or didn’t have time to make my own coffee) I would swing through the Starbucks drive-thru for my favorite caramel macchiato. Since I only got one on rare occasions, I thought it wasn’t that unhealthy of a choice. Little did I know, I was drinking more sugar in my morning cup than I should probably have all day. I did a little more Starbucks research and decided which drinks should and should not be considered part of a healthy diet.
The best Starbucks drinks that won’t throw a healthy diet off track are, in general, those low in calories and sugar. A black cup of brewed coffee is one of the best choices wherever you are, even at Starbucks. With just a splash of non-fat milk and a packet or two of Splenda, you can enjoy a morning cup of coffee for under 20 calories. Starbucks also has a great selection of teas for healthy morning beverages. The Tazo brewed teas come in so many different flavors, and one of the best – in my opinion – is Vanilla Rooibos. If you’re in the mood for something a little more decadent, I would go with a Caffé Misto. It’s the perfect combination of brewed coffee and steamed milk. Non-fat milk comes in at around 70 calories for a 16 oz., and if you opt for soy milk, you’re only at 100 calories. It’s a delicious way to start your day and stay on track. If you’re in the mood for something chilled, go with a Tazo Shaken Unsweet Passion Iced Tea, it has zero calories and just the perfect hint of natural sweetness.
Starbucks has quite a menu full of delicious drinks, but some can really get you into trouble. One of the worst Starbucks drinks in particular is a whole meal in itself: the Java Chip Frappucino. A 16 ounce grande has 460 calories, 18 grams of fat and 66 grams of sugar. Not only will your jeans fit tighter, but your head might spin from the sugar rush. Another drink that I try to avoid at Starbucks is the Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino. It has 420 calories and a whopping 20 grams of fat in the smallest size. Most of these blended beverages don’t even contain coffee. A hot fudge sundae from McDonald’s has less calories than some of these Starbucks drinks.
Indulging every once in a while is completely fine – and necessary – when we want to treat ourselves. I am not one to restrict my diet completely. But if coffee is your thing and Starbucks is your place, make sure you’re mindful of what you’re ordering.