The Biggest Mistakes You’re Making at Starbucks (And How To Fix Them)

Starbucks is known for giving you full reign to customize your drink of choice. This is very apparent when you’re in line behind someone who orders a soy half-calf vanilla latte with sugar free syrup and extra foam, heated to 160 degrees (I kid you not, that really happened.) So if you’re looking for a fat free, low calorie option, you can substitute to your heart’s content – so, there’s the plus side!

But what if you’re a purist, and want to enjoy your beverage as meant to be? Maybe you believe that fat free milk is a sham. Maybe whipped cream is your favorite of the food groups. Whatever the case, there are still drinks that are so unsuspectingly high in fat and sugar, that they should really be completely avoided. Indulgences here and there are fine, and a good diet involves cheat meals, right?

These drinks are so much more than just ordinary cheat meals, they’re “Stealing the Answers to the SAT” meals, and have little to no nutritional value in them. If you don’t want to pull a total “soy half-caf” move, there are still ways to get what you want while saving yourself the sugar. Here are some things to know about the next time you find yourself at the counter of your local Starbucks:

1. Getting Whole Milk in Your Frappuccinos

starbucks tips

Image via flickr

All of the Frappuccinos are made with whole milk unless specified otherwise, which is something to be mindful of. In a 16oz grande size made with whole milk and whipped cream, the Caramel Ribbon Crunch frap has a whopping 440 calories, 19 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, and 62 grams of sugar. The new s’mores frap isn’t too far behind on these nutrition facts either.

Try This Instead:
You still want to enjoy your decadent drink, but understand sacrifices are to be made. If you change your milk to fat free, you lose 40 calories, 4 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, and 7 grams of sugar. You keep the sweet consistency while skimming off some unneeded calories.

2.While We’re At It, Get Rid of the Whipped Cream Too

I know, whipped cream is delicious. But the whipped cream Starbucks uses is so rich that it deals huge blows to your daily calorie count. Found on various drinks including Frappuccinos and both iced and hot lattes, skipping this embellishment will make you feel better in the long run.

How It Adds Up:

Remember that Caramel Ribbon Crunch we met before? If you ordered it with skim milk, but also cut the whipped cream, you’d be down to 280 calories, 3 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, and 55 grams of sugar. Slashing 160 calories and nearly an entire day’s worth of saturated fat, it’s more than worth it. Just be careful, this baby is still a sugar bomb.

3. Ask About Sugar Free Syrup Options 

I knew Starbucks offered both caramel and vanilla in a sugar free option, but I had no idea that extended to hazelnut and cinnamon dolce as well. If you want your coffee to have an extra touch of sweetness, ask for a pump of one of those. Just be careful not to go overboard; sugar free may be a better option when used instead of loads of the other available syrups, but it is in no way healthy.

4. Don’t Let Your Eyes Be Bigger Than Your Stomach

starbucks tips

Image via flickr

After a long day of class or work, a treat from Starbucks felt well earned to me. If it was summer, that was almost always a frap. I’d order a grande and regret it four sips in; it instantly became too sweet and much more than I wanted. I’d end up throwing the rest out and feel like I’d wasted my money. It became a cycle of me convincing myself I wanted this, not drinking most of it , and hating myself for basically burning a five dollar bill (or worse, drinking the whole thing because I felt guilty). I just wanted a tiny taste of the frap instead of the whole shabang.

Luckily, Starbucks has introduced a new mini size for Frappuccinos to help those like me. The 10 oz drink (a size “tall” is 12 oz) is on average 30 cents cheaper than a tall, but will save you on sugar, calories, and wasting the whole gosh darn thing.

Most Starbucks also carry children sized cups, so if you need less coffee (why would you?) or just want a small hot chocolate, you can order a “short”, which is 8 oz. Then, you’re covering all your bases and still feeling satisfied.

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What’s your go to Starbucks coffee order?


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