The average Starbucks customer visits the store six times per month, and a die-hard 20 percent of customers visit the global coffee giant 16 times. Like most chain restaurants, there are some shockingly bad-for-you options on the menu right alongside the great ones. The trick is knowing the difference. In fact, if you’re a loyal Starbucks goer, any one of these simple swaps could help you lose anywhere from a pound to 11.5 pounds a year. Friends, check out the eight deliciously simple ways to slim down your Starbucks order so you don’t get a belly along with your caffeine buzz:
Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap
Sausage & Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich
Better Breakfast Sandwich
A beautiful trifecta of protein, carbs and fat, the humble breakfast sandwich should be the a.m. choice of champions. But most of them are total losers. Loaded with saturated fat, refined carbs and enough sodium to make an artery cry, sandwiches like the 500-calorie Sausage and Cheddar at Starbucks are reason enough to crawl back into bed. Get your egg sandwich fix with a Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap instead. The protein-rich egg whites, spinach, feta and fiber-packed wheat wrap will keep you full and stoke your metabolism. By picking the wrap over the sausage and egg, you’ll also dodge 210 calories and 18 grams of fat.
Hearty Blueberry Whole Grain Oatmeal
|Saturated Fat||0.5 g|
Nonfat Greek Yogurt with Raspberry Purée, Lemon Curd and Granola
|Saturated Fat||2.5 g|
Better Sweet and Fruity Breakfast
With an impressive five grams of fiber, a bowl of Starbucks Hearty Blueberry Whole Grain Oatmeal can ward off hunger and help keep blood sugar stable. The oats are also loaded with things called beta-glucans that act like bouncers for LDL cholesterol, getting rid of the bad guys so more good cholesterol can join the party. Party on, HDL! It gets better. A Tufts University study found that research participants who ate three or more daily servings of whole grains–like oatmeal–had 10 percent less belly fat than people who ate the same amount of calories from refined carbs like granola. Why? Researchers think it may have to do with the high fiber and slow-burn properties of whole grains. Don’t fall victim to the health implications that come from eating something like the yogurt and fruit puree concoction. While it may sound like a healthy pick, it’s really just an excuse to eat sugar for breakfast. In fact, you can have two bowls of Starbucks’ blueberry oatmeal for less fat and sugar than the creamy alternative. Oatmeal for the win!
|Saturated Fat||1.5-3.5 g|
Gluten-Free Marshmallow Dream Bar
|Saturated Fat||3 g|
Better On-the-Go Snack
We know. The pastries in the Starbucks case look SO good. But there’s an equally delicious treat just to the left of the pastry case that will satisfy your urge to be naughty, while being very nice on your waistline (and your insulin levels). KIND Bars are made from wholesome ingredients you can actually pronounce like nuts, dried fruits and honey—which is why they always top our list of snack-time favorites. The mix of protein and nutrients found in these bars can help you maintain a healthy weight and ward off chronic ailments like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The Marshmallow Dream Bar—often laying right next to the KIND snacks—is another story. Yes, it’s gluten free, but don’t let that trick you into thinking it’s good for you. Made from a combination of marshmallows, corn syrup, sugar and crisped rice, all this snack will do is give you a sugar rush that will leave you running on fumes a few hours later. The winner here is clear; if you want to be kind to your body, stick with the KIND bar.
Protein Bistro Box
Cheese & Fruit Bistro Box
Better Sit-Down Snack
If you prefer a snacking smorgasbord instead of committing to a single item, the Starbucks Bistro Boxes are for you. While none of them will cause much harm to your waistline, you’ll save 100 calories by opting for the Protein Box over the Cheese & Fruit variety. The combination of omega-3-rich cage-free egg, muesli bread, apples, grapes and protein-packed cheddar cheese and peanut butter will help you power through your afternoon meetings without reaching for the pastry platter.
Michigan Cherry Oat Bar
|Saturated Fat||5 g|
|Trans Fat||0 g|
Iced Lemon Pound Cake
|Saturated Fat||9 g|
|Trans Fat||0.5 g|
We get it: Sometimes you’ve got to give into your sugar-tooth. But just because you’re going to indulge, doesn’t mean you have to throw your weight loss progress out the window. Skip the trans fat-laden lemon pound cake and opt for the Michigan Cherry Oat Bar instead. Both options will satisfy your craving for something sweet, but indulging in the cherry bar instead will save you 230 calories, 12 grams of fat and a whopping 20 grams of sugar! Making this swap just 3 times a week can help you lose 10 pounds over the course of a year. Now that’s what we call having your cake and eating it, too!
Zesty Chicken & Black Bean Salad Bowl
Chicken Santa Fe Panini
Better Meal Choice
Offering a wider variety of sandwiches and salads than ever before, Starbucks has really stepped up their meal game. While they have a number of different salads on the menu, the variety featured here is comprised of chicken, black beans, corn, jicama, tomatoes, feta, greens and quinoa. The tasty, fiber and protein-rich combination is sure to help you beat the daily 4 p.m slump. Need another reason to opt for the salad over the sandwich? Its black beans are a good source of something called resistant starch, which promotes fat oxidation and calorie-burn, helping you trim down. The Chicken Santa Fe Panini, on the other hand, is loaded with low-quality carbs and calories from nutrient-void ingredients like sour-cream spread that will leave you reaching for a snack just hours later.
Tall Whole Milk Cappuccino
Tall Nonfat Vanilla Latte
Better Hot Espresso Drink
After everything you’ve heard about low-fat dairy products, brace yourself for another dietary paradox: New research suggests full-fat may be the best kind of diary for weight loss. To get a read on the relationship between dairy intake and obesity, one recent study in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care looked at the eating patterns and weight of middle-aged men over a 12 year period, while a second group of researchers analyzed 16 existing papers on the topic. The research groups came to similar conclusions: More dairy fat equals improved weight control. The “why?” has yet to be fully answered, but one idea is that full-fat dairy helps keep you satiated; another hypothesis is that substances in milk fat may positively affect the metabolism. In any event, if you reach for a tall, whole-milk cappuccino at Starbucks instead of a non-fat vanilla latte, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor. You’ll save 40 calories and dodge 29 grams of sugar—more than two chocolate-glazed donuts!
Grande Nonfat, Unsweetened Iced Coffee with two pumps Caramel Syrup
|Saturated Fat||0 g|
Grande Whole Milk Java Chip Frappuccino Blended Coffee with Whipped Cream
|Saturated Fat||12 g|
Better Cold Coffee Drink
Calling it a “Frappuccino” is really just a fancy way of saying you’re drinking two ice cream cones worth of calories while catching a caffeine buzz. Downing such a sugary drink is completely unnecessary; you can perk yourself up and satisfy your sweet tooth for far fewer calories. Cool down on hot days with a nonfat, unsweetened iced coffee instead. While that may sound boring in comparison to your Frap, you can get a hint of sweet flavor without breaking the calorie bank by making a few customizations. Ask your barista to add in two pumps of your favorite flavored syrup to your cup instead of the usual four (we like caramel). There are more than 180,000 ways to customize your beverage at Starbucks, so don’t feel shy about asking for something so specific. This simple swap will save you more than 400 calories and a whopping 53 grams of the sweet stuff—that’s more sugar than you’ll find in three of the chain’s chocolate croissants.