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The Best Low Calorie Starbucks Drinks

As university students, it’s safe to say that a lot of us love coffee, if not totally rely on it in our daily routines! If you are specifically a Starbucks lover, this is the article for you. The issue with caffeinated drinks these days is the amount of hidden sugar or calories in one drink. If you have a couple drinks from there multiple times a day, it can definitely add up. If you want to learn some easy ways to make your drinks more health conscious, keep reading!

Substitute Your Regular Order

If you love your regular order and hate trying new things, there are definitely ways to make your go-to favorite drinks more calorie conscious. The syrups that go into the drinks for flavor is where a lot of the added sugar and calories come from, so you can ask for less syrup! Ask for one-and-a-half pumps instead of two or four pumps which is usually what’s in a standard grande drink. Alternatively, there are sugar-free syrup options to start subbing into your favorite drinks as well. Ask the barista for suggestions or Google the sugar-free syrups offered ahead of time to think about what you want to try. Substituting out two percent milk for a plant-based or nonfat milk also cuts down on calories. Starbucks offers soy, coconut and almond milk as dairy alternatives. It costs a little bit extra for the milk substitutes but it’s definitely worth trying out if you’ve considered going dairy-free and want to cut back on high calorie consumption!

Switch to Tea

Whether you enjoy hot or iced drinks, there’s a variety of low-calorie tea options at Starbucks. My personal go-to for years has just been an iced green tea lemonade. This is something you wouldn’t expect to be super low in calories but a venti green tea lemonade is only 90 calories. The passion tango tea lemonade is around the same amount of calories as well. These are both great healthy options. If you add in the syrups from other tea drinks like the peach green tea lemonade, iced guava white tea lemonade or iced blueberry black tea lemonade, the calories go up by a little bit but are still something I recommend trying. All of these can be made without lemonade too. Of course regular hot teas are pretty low in calories and a caffeine alternative from coffee to consider trying. 


If you’re not a coffee or tea person, the refreshers are made for people who prefer a juice-like drink over caffeinated ones. Similar to the tea options, these are classics and give you a wider variety of choices for the next time you go to Starbucks and decide to forgo tea or coffee. There are three refreshers: strawberry acai, very berry hibiscus and mango dragon fruit. All of these contain around 90 calories for a grande as well. Adding coconut milk to these to make the pink drink, the violet drink and the dragon drink as specialty menu items and they are all super delicious! My suggestion for an alternative to a frappuccino would be to get one of these refreshers without water and ask for it to be blended with ice to make it like a smoothie or slush. You can add coconut milk or any other milk alternative of your preference to this blended drink suggestion as well!

Iced & Regular Coffee

Coffee itself is actually super low in calories, as it’s the milk and added sweeteners that increase the amount of calories. Again, if you enjoy hot coffee, try the milk alternatives such as soy milk or nonfat milk instead of two percent for a calorie wise drink. If you need sugar in your coffee, try adding only one packet of sugar or Splenda instead of the regular amount of sugar. Additionally, try to avoid getting hot or iced lattes because these are milk-based drinks with a shot of espresso and milk can make up for a lot of calories in a drink. If you can, switch to iced or regular coffee instead of lattes, which is actually cheaper and contains more caffeine for your buck. If you are obsessed with flavored iced coffee, again you can try substituting sugar-free syrups and dairy alternatives. Just know that you don’t have to give up coffee to be healthier!

Macro Barista

Macro Barista is a popular Instagram account that makes all kinds of coffee drinks. It mainly features Starbucks drinks but there will be the occasional recipe for other coffee chains too. The drinks posted on the account are tailored to health conscious people and whether they need to know the exact nutritional value of what they are consuming or just want healthier drink option. All the posts from this account tell you exactly how to order a drink and all its nutritional values and benefits! Usually, there are also price comparisons and the drink suggestions from the account often end up being cheaper than regular drink orders! I highly recommend following the account for more drink ideas outside of what I’ve suggested in the article. There are more resources and ideas on YouTube and just by Googling, so definitely do your research!

Remember to take everything in moderation. Having multiple coffees or drinks a day isn’t the best thing for your body so be mindful and conscious of your choices. I will say that Starbucks is probably one of the best places to get your daily drinks from, especially since their variety of drinks can be made healthier with their alternative options. The next time you’re at Starbucks, I highly encourage you to try at least one of these drink ideas that are not only delicious, but more health conscious!

Feimoon is in her fourth and final year as an undergraduate student at York University, majoring in Communication Studies. She is passionate about traveling, fashion, beauty, writing and spreading positivity. She is now an Alumni of Delta Psi Delta, and past President. Now she focuses on being a Co-Campus Correspondent for the Her Campus York University chapter!
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