You’ve probably noticed that Starbucks rolled out a new menu with some interesting options this year – the case is packed full of some classic favorites but has a lot of new products. I’m in Seattle so Starbucks is on every corner – and there are many indi coffee shops, too. I frequent both but I do suggest Starbucks options to my clients often because they do have some good choices (and some to avoid), especially when you’re on-the-go. And as a dietitian, people often want to know What I’m Eating at Starbucks Now.
We have some pretty cool Starbucks coffee shops here in Seattle. Skip the line down at Pike Place Market and head up to Capitol Hill to visit the Roastery instead, where locals actually do hang out. I have some suggestions for your next coffee shop visit and info on What I’m Eating at Starbucks Now so that you feel confident and prepared when you walk into a store that you’ll get a healthy(ish) breakfast, drink or snack.
There are some pretty obvious calorie/fat bombs in this category. The Carved Ham & Swiss Breakfast Sandwich, Double-Smoked Bacon, Cheddar & Egg Sandwich, Sausage, Cheddar & Egg Breakfast Sandwich and Spicy Chorizo, Monterey Jack & Egg Breakfast Sandwich are all pushing 500 calories and nearly a gram of sodium. I’d love to see them get some more vegetarian and vegan-friendly options in this category. The Spinach, Feta & Cage Free Egg White Breakfast Wrap is a better bet at only 300 calories but 20 grams of protein and better yet, I get the oatmeal which is by far the lightest on the breakfast menu. Pro-Starbucks tip: have them make it with soy milk instead of water then ditch the sugary agave syrup. Their soy is a bit sweet and it will probably be enough for you. Request the fresh blueberries and add the nuts and seeds packet for one of the healthiest breakfasts you can get here.
Generally skip the bakery items. Items that you might expect are unhealthy are. Snacks are often about 150-300 calories for most people but items like the Chocolate Marble Loaf Cake, Double Chocolate Chunk Brownie and Vermont Maple Walnut Muffin are over 400 calories and 20+ grams of fat each. Feel better without the sugar crash with a KIND bar, some avocado spread, a banana, a fruit cup, some almonds or a bag of popcorn if you’re feeling munchy. When I’m on the go after work, heading to wine class or another event, I often nab a protein pack or a tomato and mozzarella sandwich which are more balanced and lighter. Like breakfast, I wish they had more veggie and vegan options but there are some decent choices if you eat eggs and/or cheese.
Unicorn and Zombie seasonal frappuccinos aside, there are better and worse drinks to get at Starbucks. For more info on the challenges with these specialty drinks, see me in SELF talking about the Unicorn-forgive the headline but there’s some good content in here. The shaken teas this summer were lovely – just make sure to ask for no added sugar. Stick with regular drip coffee or Americanos for your healthiest, lightest bet. It’s awesome that they have a variety of plant-based milks now so add your own soy, almond or coconut if you’d like. If you’re looking for a specialty treat, make sure that you get a frappuccino “light” rather than regular to slash calories and fat. I like just the regular “coffee” version. Also, make sure to always get the smaller size of any given beverage, especially a sweet treat. For example, a Caramel Brulee tall frappuccino is 240 calories/2.5 grams of fat vs 300 calories/3.5 grams of fat for a grande.
Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO
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