Surviving Starbucks


Whether you’re making a life-changing choice to commit to a healthy lifestyle or just trying to get in shape for the summer, eating healthy not only can be difficult, but kicking addictive eating habits can be even more cumbersome. One of these habits, that many college students depend on, is coffee, and not just any coffee — Starbucks coffee. Caffeine is one of the most addicting drugs in the world, but what can be even worse than caffeine is the sugar that we consume in caffeinated drinks. While we may produce positive changes in our diet and improve our workout regimens, we often forget about the hidden sugars found in coffee that can unfortunately lead to weight gain. As a college student, I cannot openly advocate for eliminating Starbucks, or even just regular coffee, from your diet. However, as a former Starbucks Partner and Barista, I can provide some tips on how to navigate the sweet menu of this famous coffee shop and save a few calories too!

Skip the Syrup

While certain drinks at Starbucks may taste delicious, they can actually be desserts dressed as coffee. If you have a sweet tooth like me, the struggle can indeed be very real, but there are some great ways to cut back on the sugar without sacrificing the quality of your drink. Every iced tea at Starbucks generally comes sweetened – where the recipe calls for a certain amount of “pumps” of syrup. To cut back on sugar, ask for less “pumps” or opt for the sugar-free syrup instead!

Mix up your Milk

Frappuccinos actually have a base of whole milk. Personally, I believe that the only animal that should drink whole milk is a baby cow. Ask to have your drink made with 2 percent or skim milk. Even better — ask for the skinny version which uses sugar-free syrup instead of the classic. If you like to take milk with your coffee, try soy milk or coconut milk instead. Both are sweeter to taste and provide a few extra nutrients than regular milk!

Try a Misto

What is a Misto, you ask? While a latte is considered an espresso drink, a Misto is a coffee drink, consisting of ½ drip coffee and ½ nonfat milk. Not only does this drink have fewer calories, but it can also be easier on your wallet. You can always add extra flavoring by using the cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, or chocolate powder toppings.


Almost all of the pastries served at Starbucks have a high sugar and fat content. I recommend paying more attention to the nutrient list on the food labels. Instead of eating a breakfast sandwich, try a multi-grain bagel with fat-free cream cheese. Certain stores sell oatmeal, parfaits, wraps, salads, and protein boxes that are great substitutes as well!

While the majority of items sold at Starbucks can avoid the “healthy” food list, there are always ways to substitute and give into your cravings in a healthy way. Whenever at Starbucks, always remember these three things: moderation is key, drinking sugar can be just as bad as eating it, and don’t forget – always tip your baristas!

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