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Healthier Starbucks for the Common Caffeine Addict

We all get it. We need coffee to work, study and focus. It's a necessity we need in order to function, especially in college. As I was sipping my morning hazelnut latte from the infamous Starbucks, I thought to myself, "how many of these do I drink in a week, how much am I putting into my body, and does this still make me feel better or am I tragically immune to coffee?"

If I asked you what goes into your specialty coffee you drink every morning, you wouldn’t know what to tell me. I talked with my physician a couple weeks back, and I asked her what the main causes are for weight gain in college students. I laid out my typical daily diet and food schedule for her, but I forgot to mention my morning cup of Joe, because, its just coffee, right? The first question my physician asked me after explaining my (semi) healthy diet was if I was a coffee drinker. I responded, “who isn’t in college?" She then went on to tell me the average amount of calories in a specialty drink at Starbucks is around 300 calories. She then told me there is a wide range of drink options at Starbucks that easily knocks down those calories.

When I decide to treat myself to Starbucks, I go for a hazelnut latte. Sounds simple, but boy did those things add up on my body! Latte is just another word for added sugar that you really don’t need to be satisfied. Here’s the healthier modification:

Start with regular brewed coffee.

What size may you ask?

Make it a habit to get a size tall since it's the healthiest size. I suggest a grande size if you had a long night. Size venti should be your new swear word. (You really don’t need that big of a size.)

Pick a flavoring for added taste.

I started getting regular brewed coffee with hazelnut flavoring. If you haven’t guessed by now, my favorite flavor is hazelnut. The flavoring adds sweetness, so there is your first boost of sugar. Starbucks will pump four full pumps into a grande, so ask them for only two or three pumps. I promise you won’t taste the difference.

Try a healthier, more natural cream.

Instead of cream, ask them for almond milk. Almond milk is sweet, and it also adds more flavor to your drink as well.

You should add in your own sugar.

I typically add in a full packet of regular, real sugar into my coffee. This is the precise amount to taste similar to a latte, but you are saving yourself about 200 calories.


So the next time you order, I’ll help out with what you need to say so you don’t completely embarrass yourself.

It’s simple: "Hello nice Starbucks employee! I will have a tall, regular coffee with two pumps of (insert flavoring here) along with almond milk please." When they hand you your drink, put in however much sugar you need to get that desired sweetness.

You’re saving money on this drink, staying healthy and still getting the caffeine boost you need. Sure, a caramel cappuccino won't hurt every once in a while. But if you drink coffee in moderation, you will look and feel better about yourself when you switch to this diet plan. 

Erin Simonek

Kent State

Kent State University | Broadcast Journalism Major | Political Science/ Public Relations Minor 
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