Order This, Not That: Starbucks

'Tis the season for fancy coffee drinks filled with hidden fat, sugar and calories. Learn what to order from the barista so you don't pack on extra holiday pounds.
Related To:
AA026651

AA026651

Cup of Coffee

Photo by: Ryan McVay ©(c) Ryan McVay

Ryan McVay, (c) Ryan McVay

Who doesn’t love Starbucks' holiday drinks? They have such fancy names and delicious ingredients. But the hidden calories . . . you won’t believe your thighs! Get the skinny before you order your next grande or venti holiday brew.

ORDER: Reasonable portions of tasty delights

Many folks look forward to the seasonal offerings at Starbucks. There’s nothing wrong with tasty caffeinated beverages, but many of Starbucks dressed-up drinks contain as many calories as we should be eating in one meal. Luckily, Starbucks gives you the power to take control of your order. You choose the size of your drink, type of milk, and whether or not you want whipped cream. When ordering a fancy-shmancy drink, count it as a snack and aim for no more than 200 calories.

Just to get some perspective, a grande (16-fluid ounce) cup of brewed coffee without sugar or milk contains 5 calories and is free of fat and sugar. Add ¼ cup of skim milk for an additional 15 calories. Now take a look at the numbers on some of the more popular holiday drinks: Before you order one of those yummy drinks, choose one with a reasonable amount of calories.

NOT: Overly decadent calorie-bombs

‘Tis the season for a grande (16-fluid ounce) Eggnog Frappuccino made with 2% milk and whipped cream. This baby weighs is at 420 calories, 18 grams of fat, and 58 grams of sugar. Even the tall size (12-fluid ounces) comes with a hefty 320 calories and 13 grams of fat.

Instead: Order the grande Eggnog Frappuccino Light with only 200 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, and 2.5 grams of saturated fat.

A grande Pumpkin Spice Crème Frappuccino made with whole milk and whipped cream is not much better with 380 calories, 16 grams of fat and 52 grams sugar.

Instead: Choose a tall (12-fluid ounce) version made with skim milk and hold the whipped cream for 150 calories, 0 grams of fat, and 33 grams  of sugar.

Some folks think that soy milk makes for a healthier drink. Don’t be fooled. A grande (16-fluid ounce) Mocha Frappuccino with soy milk and whipped cream has 410 calories, 14 grams of fat and 65 grams of sugar (Yikes!).

Instead: Ask for light soy or nonfat milk instead to skim some calories or go for the tall (12-fluid ounce) Mocha Frappuccino Light for 130 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 18 grams of sugar.

Looking forward to warming up to a grande (16-fluid ounce) Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate made with 2% milk and whipped cream? You’ll be guzzling down 450 calories, 16 grams fat and 62 grams sugar.

Instead: Switching to nonfat milk will only save 50 calories. A small taste of this decadent drink is all you need. Order a short (8-fluid ounce) made with nonfat milk and hold the whipped cream for 160 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 32 grams of sugar.

We can’t forget about the delicious grande (16-fluid ounce) Caramel Brulee Latte with 2% milk and whipped cream. It has a whopping 420 calories, 15 grams fat, and 47 grams sugar.

Instead: Go for a short (8-fluid ounce) version with the same add-ins for almost half the calories (240) and fat (8 grams).

For more information about Starbucks beverages, you can find them here.

You Might Also Like:

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby's full bio »

Keep Reading

Next Up

In the News: Warning for Tea Drinkers, Starbucks Goes Green, Teen Weight Loss Surgery & More

From this week’s headlines: Starbucks goes eco-friendly, weekly food recalls, making dinner faster and easier, and weight loss surgery for teens.

Coffee Creamer: Good or Bad?

Do you start your morning with a splash of liquid coffee creamer? Find out if that’s a smart way to begin the day.

Food Fight!: Caffeinated Drinks

Looking for that morning or afternoon buzz? Caffeinated creations -- including coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks -- vary not only in their pick-me-up powers but also in their nutritional benefits. Find out which one offers the most perks.

Quick Tip: Have the Coffee, Not the Calories

Black coffee doesn't have lots of calories, but once you start adding in the extras, the total skyrockets.

Weekly Bits: Happy New Year!

Get 2010 off to a great start with these comments from Healthy Eats readers. On this week's list: Thai take-out from your own kitchen, plus resolutions for a healthy new year.

Food Fight: Cappuccino vs. Latte!

Cappuccino and latte! Both have their merits. but which one is the healthier pick? There's only one way to find out: Get these beverages in the boxing ring!

Nutrient to Know: Chlorogenic Acid

If you’re a coffee drinker, you may be getting plenty of this potent antioxidant – find out why it’s good for you.

Carrot Lattes Are Pretty Much What They Sound Like

Baristas in Australia would like to present you with a carrot latte, which is, yes, a latte served in a carrot.

What Makes Coffee Smell So Good? An Infographic Makes Scents of It

Why do we love the smell of coffee so much? A helpful infographic makes scents of it all with a chemical breakdown.

What's Your Java IQ?

To celebrate National Coffee Day, take Food Network Magazine's coffee quiz.