Last Updated on September 22, 2022
Walking into any coffee shop can be a minefield if you are not careful. So many unassuming and healthy-looking drinks can be loaded with secret calories, and it can be very difficult to navigate which ones are okay if you are looking to cut calories!
What this article looks to do is provide you with a range of awesome drink choices that may not jump out at you when you walk in, but that are available (top secret though) and come in at far fewer calories than your average double cream chocolate cappuccino.
Each of the 12 drinks listed below may only be available at certain times of the year, but if you are brave enough to ask, then you will be rewarded! You can thank us later!
Remember, you’re asking for a TEAquila sunrise because we are sure that people have made the Freudian slip and asked for a shot of tequila in the morning (whatever gets you through the workday!).
This will taste so much like the real thing, only green tea caffeine is subbed for alcohol and passion tea is added in place of the “sunrise” part. Plus, the entire grande is only 45 calories! It is perfect for a warm summer’s morning, or on a Friday after a long shift at the office. It’s the definition of a treat without the cheat. You’ve gotta love it!
Healthy Nitro Cold Brew
I mean, if the name alone doesn’t sell this to you then we don’t know what will! Ordering this nitro cold brew with sugar-free cinnamon syrup and cinnamon spice is super cheap, quick and convenient, and it makes it easy to add your own healthy creamer. What a great idea!
Espresso Banana Protein Smoothie
Not everyone is a fan of Banana, and that’s okay, they can enjoy the number of other drinks on the list, but if you enjoy bananas, and like the taste of espresso, oh and want to add a little more protein to your diet( yes we are talking to you gym heads), then this is the recipe for success.
It’s not on the menu though, so you’ll have to tell the barista what ingredients go into the mix. It’s simply whey protein, a banana, a shot of espresso, ice and water. It’s simple but delicious.
Cinnamon and Banana Oatmeal
Okay so this isn’t a drink, and OKAY it’s another option that includes a banana, but hear us out!
Starbucks offers two types of oatmeal: the Classic Whole-Grain variety (which comes with dried fruit, a nut medley and brown sugar as optional toppings) and the Hearty Blueberry Whole-Grain (which comes with blueberries, a nut and seed medley, and agave syrup).
But you can also ask for the oatmeal sans toppings and customize it yourself with a banana (sold separately at the register) and cinnamon from the milk-and-sugar station. The two add-ins serve up a host of health benefits: bananas are rich in potassium, a mineral that keeps bloating at bay by excreting sodium, and cinnamon keeps blood sugar steady, aiding appetite control.
The Cold Buster
Nothing can drain your energy and make you feel crummy like a cold. Instead of moping around the house, take a trip to Starbucks and order this immensely popular secret menu item. (Starbucks even shared the recipe on their Instagram!)
This “Cold Buster” is made by combining ½ steamed lemonade, ½ hot water, and a teabag each of Jade Citrus Mint green tea and Peach Tranquility herbal tea. If you want to add some honey, we recommend cutting down the steamed lemonade to ¼ of your cup to keep sugar low. The vitamin C from the lemons will help kick your immune system into gear, and the antimicrobial properties of the honey will help battle away bacteria.
The best thing about it is, it is available all year as well, and it is so helpful at boosting that immune system, and kicking you right back into shape once again.
Blueberry Protein Smoothie
Many of Starbucks’ smoothies include sugar-filled sauces, juices and purees that won’t do your waistline or health any favors. So instead of ordering one of the smoothies the coffee chain has concocted, grab a pack or two of blueberries from the refrigerator case, hand it to your barista and request a custom drink to be made by blending the fruit with whey protein, ice and either water or milk.
The combination of natural sugar and protein in this drink is an ideal post-workout pick-me-up, and it’s an easy alternative when you can’t get to your go-to smoothie from a dedicated juice shop.
The original low-calorie drink, Starbucks has really revolutionized the ways in which a typically high-sugar drink can be altered to suit the masses. Instead of offering customers a typical matcha tea which is made by mixing water with matcha powder, Starbucks incorporated the superfood into their waist-widening Frapps and lattes.
The good news is, you can get your hands on matcha tea the way it was intended to be sipped. Just tell the barista you’d like “unsweetened matcha tea powder mixed with hot water.” and boom, you have a healthy and delicious drink that is low in calories!
Harry Potter Pumpkin Juice
Potterheads, have you ever wished you could sip pumpkin juice in the Great Hall? Well, we can’t get to Hogwarts, but we can get a cup of this “magical” juice with some secret know-how. Order a Grande Apple Juice with one pump of cinnamon dolce, one pump of chai, and two pumps of pumpkin spice, and finish with light ice to get this wonderfully witchy drink.
Wendy’s Inspired Frosty Frap
This drink combines chocolate and caffeine in the best way. Order a Grande Mocha Frappuccino, and ask for it to be made with heavy whipping cream. Add two pumps of vanilla syrup and mocha drizzle, and voila! You’ve got a Frosty with a kick.
The Caribbean Refresher
To enjoy this delicious Caribbean-style beverage, simply order a Venti Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade with no inclusions, aka the scoop of dragonfruit that usually comes in this drink. Then, ask for light kiwi juice and peach juice. To create the ruby hues, ask for one pump of raspberry syrup and light passion tea to be poured on top of the drink.
It takes a little work to finish, but the taste is to die for!
Honey Peach Freeze
Are you feeling a little ‘peachy’? Order up a Venti Blended Lemonade with peach juice and a splash of guava juice. Ask your barista to strip up the inside of the cup with agave, then top with vanilla sweet cream foam and toasted honey topping. The best part? This tastes like summer no matter the season.
Orange Lemon Smoothie
Last but not least, we have the Orange Lemon Smoothie. Order up a Venti Blended Lemonade, and make sure you ask for the drink to be blended on the smoothie setting. Buy a bottle of orange juice from the Grab and Go section and ask them to blend about half the bottle in. Add 2 pumps of vanilla syrup, 2 pumps of classic syrup, top off with vanilla cold foam—and voila! It’s summer in a cup.