Everybody knows that a delicious morning coffee is a must, at least once in a while, right? Personally, I have a latte Friday tradition going for myself. I wake up every Friday, squeeze in my morning workout, grab breakfast, and hit the nearest coffee shop on the way to wherever I'm headed that particular day for a little end of the week treat. There is nothing wrong with treating ourselves once in a while, but most of us are also aware (especially now that calorie counts are posted on menu boards) that even a simple morning latte can rack up more calories than your breakfast itself.
The first problem with this is, unlike a hearty breakfast, your coffee calories are mostly sugar and therefore they are absolutely useless for anything except for guaranteeing a sugar crash later on in the day. Second of all, the extra calories are completely unnecessary as there are dozens and dozens of simple swaps that will transform your cup of sugar into a (still delicious) somewhat reasonably healthy, morning pick me up. So why wouldn't you make the change?
Here, I'll get you started.
All caloric values listed are estimates that may vary slightly based on flavor and chosen modifications. Calories listed are those of the most modified form described.
For The Latte Drinker:
Lattes are a fairly easy fix. First and foremost, switch your milk base. Lattes come with 2% milk when ordered regularly. To cut down on calories ask for a lighter milk like skim. If you are a non-dairy drinker, skip the soy milk and ask for almond or coconut milk which are the lightest two of your non-dairy options. A second easy fix is asking for sugar-free syrup which will majorly reduce your carb intake as well as overall calories. If you are against calorie-free sweeteners or just want a more mild drink, try asking for half the amount of syrup.
Calories in regular 16 oz: 250 k cal
Calories in modified 16 oz: 80-120 k cal
For The Cappuccino Drinker:
Easy, easy fix here. Cappuccinos, like lattes, come with 2% milk. Save some calories by switching to skim, or if you're dairy free, ask for almond milk (opposed to soy) to cut calories down to the minimum. If you get flavors in your cappuccino try asking for sugar-free syrup, or simply asking for half the amount of sweetness.
Calories in regular 16 oz: 120 k cal
Calories in modified 16 oz: 80-100 k cal
For The Macchiato Drinker:
So a macchiato, essentially, is similar to a latte (milk base with espresso and flavoring), only heavier due to the added heavy cream, dry milk, drizzle syrup, and butter. And yes, I did say butter. There is butter in your morning coffee if you are drinking a macchiato from Starbucks. As far as making healthy adjustments, I would suggest opting for a lighter milk base like skim or almond milk. I would also ask for sugar-free syrup rather than regular, and even ask for it half sweet as I will continue to suggest with multiple drinks. You may also opt to pass on the drizzle syrup over the top.
Calories in regular 16 oz: 250 k cal
Calories in modified 16 oz: 120 k cal
For The Mocha Drinker:
I'm not going to lie, mocha's hurt me a little bit. These are tricky drinks as, although I'm sure they're delicious, they are essentially sugar bombs. Racking up a whopping 430 calories, a cafe mocha is made up of 2% milk, "mocha sauce", espresso, sugar syrup, and to top it off, a big blob of whipped cream. I'm not here to pass any judgments, but if you're drinking these things on a regular basis, I am glad you're reading this article. Not because you don't deserve it, but because I care about your health. So let's get started. First off, skip the whipped cream. Just skip it. Try skim or almond milk instead of 2%. Ask for a sugar-free vanilla syrup in place of the regular. You can also ask for it half sweet. As far as the "mocha sauce" I suppose this is what gives you the taste you love. Try asking for half of the amount of sauce. If you hate it you can always switch back, but give it a shot.
Calories in regular 16 oz: 430 k cal
Calories in modified 16 oz: 200 – 230 k cal
For The Frappuccino Drinker:
Depending on the flavor, a small Frappuccino can rack up to 500 calories into your system. Not healthy ones either. Guys, like I mentioned with the mocha drinks, I hope these aren't something you're drinking on the regular. Everything in moderation, but I care about your health and well being too much to not warn you against these frozen cups of cholesterol. That was harsh, but its the truth. With too many syrups and various sauces blended into ice and whipped cream to count, it's easier to just switch out your Frappuccino entirely for a blended iced coffee. Order a "Light Frappuccino Blended Coffee" to curb your frozen beverage craving for about 1/4 of the calories and sugar.
Calories in regular 16 oz: 500 k cal
Calories in modified 16 oz: 110 k cal
For The Shaken Tea Drinkers:
Obviously, there are dozens of varieties of tea drinks at Starbucks, whether it be shaken, infused, sweetened, etc. The healthiest way to order Starbucks iced teas is plain and unsweetened. If you need a little more sweet to be satisfied, try asking for their calorie-free sweetener (they use stevia) and or just having them add half of the amount of regular syrup as usual. Try to avoid the lemonade teas, as the lemonade added is just cane sugar, flavoring, and citric acid.
Calories in regular 16 oz: 70 k cal
Calories in modified 16 oz: 0 k cal
Completely Calorie Free Options:
- Iced or regular Americano with sugar-free syrup, no cream.
- Shaken tea with stevia sweetener.
- Black cold brew or black iced coffee.
My Go-To Drink:
My personal go-to drink is an Americano (iced or hot depending on the weather and time of year) with a splash of coconut milk. If I am having a sweet craving, I'll add two pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup.