As a preface to this article, and a mini disclaimer of sorts, when I say the term “diet”, I am not referring to a traditional diet. Traditional dieting involves drastic calorie reduction, vitamin and mineral depletion, macro nutrient reduction (usually with carbs), and long –term negative metabolic consequences such as decreased thyroid function, impaired leptin and ghrelin levels, and even weight gain- which usually happens down the road.
This is far from the balanced, sustainable, and healthy approach to “dieting” and nutrition that we recommend.
When we refer to diet, we mean eating in a way that supports optimal health, metabolic function, including small calorie deficits ( if you want to lose weight). and of course achieving your goals sustainably.
Now that we cleared that up, let’s talk about what you can have next time your order at Starbucks.
Many of our clients are Starbucks and coffee lovers, and frequent a local Starbucks on a regular basis.
Can Starbucks really fit in to a healthy lifestyle plan?
And if so, how you can enjoy your regular Starbucks visit, and still see the progress you want with your goals?
Many people forget there is a whole lot of room in between an order to enjoy your favourite indulgences. And still even have it as part of your every day plan.
It’ s not an all or nothing approach.
Here are 4 drinks we recommend ordering next time you are at Starbucks, and want to stay on track with your diet and goals!
To clarify, I would add in the Starbucks branded Ethos Water as a fifth option, but that seems sort of pointless. I mean who goes to Starbucks to drink water, really?
Coffee, in moderate quantities does have some health benefits, as it’s a good source of antioxidants.
However, coffee in excessive amounts can pose a problem for two reasons.
- It’s a diuretic, which means it leaches water from your body and dehydrates you. If you aren’t replacing coffee intake with water, it’s easy to get dehydrated.
- Your body can create a dependency on caffeine for energy if you drink too much coffee, which can negatively effect energy levels and create withdrawal symptoms if you happen to stop drinking coffee after a while.
With that being said, coffee in moderate amounts, like 1-2 cups a day in perfectly fine.
The other thing to consider, is what you add to your coffee. Ideally, drinking it black is best from a health and calorie standpoint.
However this doesn’t work for everyone. So if you are going to add extra, consider milk instead of cream, and natural (honey, pure maple syrup), or artificial sweetener instead of sugar.
You are choosing the lesser of two evils by going with sweetener over sugar.
2. Skinny Latte
The calories in most lattes are around the neighbourhood of 400-700, depending on the type and size of your drink.
Drinking your calories is a no-no if you want to lose weight and change your body. Drinking your calories provides no satiation or fullness, which means you can easily drink 1000 calories in a day if you wanted.
However, skinny lattes (with sweetener and skim milk) at Starbucks allow you to still enjoy your weekly latte and reduce calorie intake.
A small skinny vanilla latte has about 90 calories, compared to about 300-400 with the real thing.
While sweetener isn’t the best, it still beats sugar and allows you to have your weekly indulgence minus the calories.
There are numerous health benefits to tea including a great source of antioxidants, and other vitamins and minerals, along with little to no calories.
Ideally, Tea should be drunk like coffee, black. However if you need to add into extra, then a bit of sweetener and milk is fine.
4. Tall Skinny Frappuccino
While the calorie intake of this wonderful blended drink is higher than our skinny latte friend, it is much better than the real indulgence of a frappuccino.
A Frappuccino is an amazing blended drink of espresso, milk, syrup, whip cream, and mixed in and blended with ice.
So how the heck does this even make the list?
Well, there is a way my friends!
If you are going to order a frappuccino, and want to stay on track with our health and fitness goals, follow these steps.
- Order a tall (small), and nothing more
- Get it with skim or 1 % milk. Not whole milk
- Get sugar free syrup
- Get a very, very small amount of whip (whip cream)
- Any added syrups on top should be very, very light. Ask for extra light
Just like the skinny lattes, I would not recommended these daily. If you are a regular Starbucks lover, indulge 1-2x/week max, and you won’t be having all of the extra calories.
5. Coconut Water
If you are looking for something refreshing and sweet, and a drink that doesn’t have too many calorie. Coconut water is another fantastic choice offered at Starbucks.
Again, I would recommend keeping this at 2-3x/week max, if you are a regular Starbucks customer, as coconut water still has calories and still has a far bit of sugar (natural of course).