Skip to content

8 Ways to Slim Down at Starbucks Without Ordering Everything in Mini

When Starbucks announced their new Mini Frappuccino menu, it meant a new form of frosty relief—not just from the throat-scorching heat of the coming summer, but also from the swimsuit-stretching calorie load of their popular frozen drinks.

The addictive Frappuccino has been fingered as a suspect in many an unexplained summer weight gain: Venti orders with whipped cream range from 460 to 590 calories, enough to pack on nearly 13 pounds between Memorial Day and Labor Day alone if you have one every morning.

Thirsty and sluggish, more than 6,000 fans submitted requests via My Starbucks Idea for smaller drink sizes and, in response, the chain is offering a new 10-ounce Mini Frapp—and it's making its (not so) big debut today! Trading in your tall Frapp for the petite sipper will save you about 30 cents and nix about 17 percent of the calories. While this is great news if you're trying to lose weight or get toned for summer, the mini will only be available through July 6th.

But summer doesn't end in July. To help you stay trim through Labor Day and beyond, we came up with eight deliciously simple ways to slim down your Starbucks order—besides opting for a smaller sized blended beverage. 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 an additional 12 pounds a year!

Eat This

Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap

Calories 290
Fat 10 g
Sodium 830 mg
Protein 19 g
Fiber 6 g

Not That!

Sausage & Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich

Calories 500
Fat 28 g
Sodium 920 mg
Protein 19 g
Fiber 1 g
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.

Eat This!

Hearty Blueberry Whole Grain Oatmeal

220 calories
2.5 g fat
0.5 g saturated
5 g fiber
13 g sugar
5 g protein

Not That

Nonfat Greek Yogurt with Raspberry Purée, Lemon Curd and Granola

310 calories
7 g fat
2.5 g saturated
31 g sugar
3 g fiber
13 g protein
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!

Eat This


Calories 190-200
Fat 10-13 g
Saturated Fat 1.5-3.5 g
Sugar 5-11 g
Protein 4-7 g

Not That!

Gluten-Free Marshmallow Dream Bar

Calories 249
Fat 5 g
Saturated Fat 3 g
Sugar 23 g
Protein 2 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.

Eat This

Protein Bistro Box

Calories 380
Fat 19 g
Protein 19 g
Fiber 5 g
Sugar 19 g
Protein 13 g

Not That!

Cheese & Fruit Bistro Box

Calories 480
Fat 28 g
Protein 6 g
Fiber 6 g
Sugar 18 g
Protein 18 g
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.

Eat This

Michigan Cherry Oat Bar

Calories 240
Fat 8 g
Saturated Fat 5 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Sugar 22 g

Not That!

Iced Lemon Pound Cake

Calories 470
Fat 20 g
Saturated Fat 9 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Sugar 42 g
Better Pastry

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!

Eat This

Zesty Chicken & Black Bean Salad Bowl

Calories 260
Fat 15 g
Sodium 850 g
Fiber 8 g
Protein 19 g

Not That!

Chicken Santa Fe Panini

Calories 410
Fat 12 g
Sodium 930 g
Fiber 2 g
Protein 26 g
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.

Drink This

Tall Whole Milk Cappuccino

Calories 110
Fat 6 g
Carbs 9 g
Protein 6 g
Sugar 8 g

Not That!

Tall Nonfat Vanilla Latte

Calories 150
Fat 0 g
Carbs 28 g
Protein 9 g
Sugar 27 g
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!

Drink This

Grande Nonfat, Unsweetened Iced Coffee with two pumps Caramel Syrup

Calories 65
Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Sugar 13 g

Not That!

Grande Whole Milk Java Chip Frappuccino Blended Coffee with Whipped Cream

Calories 470
Fat 18 g
Saturated Fat 12 g
Sugar 66 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.

FOR HUNDREDS MORE WEIGHT-LOSS IDEAS, click here for our new book Eat This, Not That! 1,247 Awesome Slimming Swaps. Order now to get your FREE GIFT!

Eat This, Not That!
Inspired by The New York Times best-selling book series, Eat This, Not That! is a brand that's comprised of an award-winning team of journalists and board-certified experts, doctors, nutritionists, chefs, personal trainers, and dietitians who work together to bring you accurate, timely, informative, and actionable content on food, nutrition, dieting, weight loss, health, wellness, and more. Read more about Eat This