The Healthiest Breakfast and Lunch Options at Starbucks, According to a Nutritionist
Plus savvy tips for customizing your favorite Starbucks drinks!
With a shop seemingly on every block, it’s safe to say just about everyone has experienced a Starbucks run. But with more than 250 different drinks on the menu, oodles of grab-and-go meals, plus plenty of snacks and desserts, you need some nutrition know-how to navigate the menu. Want proof? Depending on your order, your a.m. coffee and pastry habit could tally up to 700 calories and more sugar than a soda.
To stay on track, make over your drink, breakfast, and lunch picks at Starbucks. Here are some of my favorite nutritious and satisfying drinks and food on the menu.
If you need your caffeine fix…
Order a tall Caffè Americano or Caffè Misto with nonfat milk. Even though sugary beverages might sound tempting, you don’t want to start your day with a drink that’s more like a dessert. For example, a venti (24-ounce) Cinnamon Roll Frappuccino will set you back more than 600 calories and packs some 25 teaspoons of sugar.
Instead, look for beverage options with about 100 calories, as liquid calories don’t provide the same satiety as calories from food. Keep it simple: My top picks are brewed coffee or tea, a cappuccino, americano, or misto, or a skinny latte.
To slash added sugar and low-quality calories when it comes to customizing your drink, always order a tall (12 ounces) rather than a grande (16 ounces) or venti (24 ounces). Request nonfat milk, as 2% milk is the standard at Starbucks. The swap will slash 50 or more calories from your drink. If you simply can’t go without a syrup, ask for the sugar-free version or just one pump of the sweet stuff. And nix the whip! You can save between 80 and 110 calories, depending on the size and type of your beverage.
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If you’re grabbing breakfast…
Order eggs or oatmeal. A good rule of thumb for women is to keep your breakfast to about 450 to 500 calories with 20 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. Men should seek options with about 550 to 650 calories, 30 grams of protein, and at least 6 grams of fiber.
Food-wise, Starbucks has plenty of options that will provide protein and fiber to help you stay satisfied without a lot of extra calories or added sugar. For a lean breakfast, try the Spinach, Feta & Cage-Free Egg White Breakfast Wrap for 290 calories, the Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon & Cage-Free Egg White Breakfast Sandwich for 210 calories, or the Egg White & Red Pepper Sous Vide Egg Bites for 170 calories. You can add one of Starbucks’s 90-calorie fruit cups for extra filling fiber.
If you’re active and working out in the morning, you might want a more carb-rich breakfast item, like the Classic or Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal, with their high fiber counts. Sometimes after a hard CrossFit workout I’ll go for the Classic Bantam Bagels with a soy or nonfat latte. It’s a bit of a guilty pleasure, but since the bagels come appropriately portioned (they’re mini and come in a two-pack), you don’t have to worry about overindulging.
If you’re hungry for lunch…
Order a Protein Box or Bowl. These are the most protein- and fiber-filled lunch options at Starbucks. They range from 360 to 650 calories and all have high protein counts to keep you satisfied. I like either the Chicken & Quinoa Protein Bowl with Black Beans and Greens for 420 calories or the Lentils & Vegetable Protein Bowl with Brown Rice for 650 calories. They provide the most protein and fiber to tamp down hunger for hours on those days when you’re cruising through a busy workday and you know dinner won’t be for hours. Other smart options are the Smoked Turkey Protein Box for 360 calories or the Egg & Cheese Protein Box and the Chicken Wrap Protein Box, both with 460 calories.