Skip to content

7 Skinny Starbucks Hacks You Didn't Know Existed

Stop ordering straight from menu and upgrade your a.m. latte with these calorie-saving tips and tricks.

A Grande Vanilla Latte may sound innocent enough—until you realize you've just ingested 250 calories and 35 grams of sugar. Although your go-to orders may rack up some serious button-busting calorie counts, that doesn't mean you have to give up on Starbucks for good in order to witness your waistline shrink. Fortunately for coffee lovers, the java giant offers plenty of modifications and room for customization—even if it's not scribbled on their menu. Find out how to slim down your caffeinated order with these simple Starbucks hacks and pair your pick with our diet-expert-approved Starbucks items to stay within your calorie budget.

Cut It Short

starbucks cup sizes

Thought you could only order a Tall, Grande, Venti, or Trenta? Although it's not listed on the menu, ordering a Short is also an option. Getting your go-to order in Sbux's smallest size, the 8-ounce Short, will slash four ounces worth of your chosen beverage's calories and save you a few bucks compared to ordering the Tall. If you usually opt for a low-cal option like plain iced coffee with a splash of cream, we say go for the Grande. But if you're in the mood to splurge on a seasonal latte (hello, PSL), the 8-ounce shouldn't break your calorie budget.

Know Your Milk Alternatives

almond milk

In Starbucks' beginnings, former CEO and current Executive Chairman Howard Schultz only allowed whole milk in stores because he wanted the shop's offerings to stay true to authentic Italian-style espresso drinks. Thankfully, Sbux has evolved since and now offers 2 percent and skim milk in addition to adding non-dairy options like almond, coconut, and soy milk to fit its diverse customers' diets. And FYI, unless you specify which milk you want, Starbucks will concoct your coffee with 2 percent milk.

If you're watching your weight, we still recommend the 2 percent over the skim because it has a gram less sugar and packs in a solid dose of healthy fats. If you prefer a plant-based milk, go for the almond or soy over the coconut milk, which has just one gram of protein and absolutely no fiber per 12 ounces.

Be Specific About Your Syrups


A sweetened Tall order is made with three pumps of syrup, while a Grande is made with four pumps, and a hot or iced Venti beverage has five or six pumps, respectively. Each flavored pump packs in about 20 calories and five grams of sugar. So if you opt for a Grande Vanilla Latte with two pumps of vanilla syrup instead of four, you'll be sparing your waistline of 40 calories and 10 grams of sugar!

Choose Spices Over Syrups


If you're feeling somewhat adventurous, skip the syrups altogether and season your java with Sbux's array of super low-cal spices. The counter is always stocked with powdered cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate, and nutmeg. Pro tip: ask for matcha green tea powder. It'll lend your latte some serious full-bodied flavor for only 25 calories.

Opt For The Cold Brew

cold brew

Sbux's cold brew's custom coffee bean blend hails from Colombia and East Africa and is slow-steeped for 20 hours in order to achieve its signature smooth flavor. The best part? A Grande is only five calories, granting the Nariño 70 Cold Brew our gold seal of approval.

Settle For Skinny… Sometimes


Once summertime rolls along, "skinny" becomes the ultimate buzzword at Starbucks. Skinny espresso beverages are blended with nonfat milk, sugar-free syrups (like the Skinny Caramel, Skinny Vanilla, and Skinny Cinnamon Dolce syrups), and no whipped cream. While that may nix numerous calories off your order, we're not the biggest fans of the calorie-free syrups because they contain artificial sweeteners, which have been linked to weight gain and cardiometabolic risk when consumed regularly. This is one Starbucks hack you should employ cautiously: if you're at the 'Bux often, don't make asking your barista to pump in sugar-free syrups a habit. But definitely save yourself from the sweetened whipped cream.

Go Iced

iced tea starbucks

Ever noticed how a Grande Iced Caffè Latte with 2 percent milk clocks in at a decent 130 calories while the steamed version racks up 190 calories? Apparently, ordering your favorite drink iced over hot can save you a few calories because, naturally, some of the milk is replaced with ice.


April Benshosan
April is a born-and-raised Brooklynite who has a passion for all things health, wellness, and tastebud-related. Read more about April