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Your Low-Cal Guide to Summer Starbucks Drinks

You know it’s summer when you start seeing pictures of the frothy, creamy, colorful Starbucks drinks pop up on the menu. 

What you might not know is that many of these favorites, even when not supersized, are the calorie and sugar equivalent of a large candy bar. And have far in excess of the recommended sugar intake sometimes on a daily basis. While following my 80-20 approach can definitely leave room for an indulgent Starbucks drink as is, regular consumption of these “empty calories” will not only add up but will leave you unsatisfied, as there is no significant amount of protein, fiber, or fat in any of them.

But you don’t have to be left out in the heat. You can have your cake and eat it too on the reg. Here’s how.

You want that “Pink Drink” that’s all over Insta (it photographs so PRETTY)

A Pink Drink at Starbucks has exactly 4 ingredients: strawberry acai juice, coconut milk, freeze-dried strawberries and ice. In its original formula it is 140 calories, 25g sugar, 2g fat.

You might as well have:

A serving of strawberry ice cream, 150 calories, 18g sugar, 7g fat 

You can still have your cake and order: 

Thanks to fit-minded Starbucks-lovers, they’ve figured out how to hack the pink drink to meet the nutritional requirements on keto. To order your very own keto pink drink, ask your barista for passion tango tea, sugar-free syrup, heavy creamer (or light creamer), and Splenda (optional) or Stevia.

The Calorie Breakdown of the Healthy Pink Drink

Ingredient Calories Sugar Fat 
Passion Tango Iced Tea000
Sugar-Free Vanilla Syrup000
Heavy Cream 100111
Half and half 8016
a glass of beer
Photo by Komorebi Photo

You crave: A frothy cold brew 

If you are tempted by: White Chocolate Macadamia Cream Cold Brew, Chocolate Cream Cold Brew, and Salted Caramel Cold Brew. Calories @ 250 calories, 30g of sugar, 10-15g fat.

You might as well have a:

A Milky Way bar, which has 260 calories, 35g sugar, and 10g fat

But you can still have your cake and order: 

  • French Vanilla Cold Foam Brew: (the link tells you how to order) With plain cold brew  nonfat milk or almond milk as the base for the cold foam, and sugar-free vanilla syrup this will be about 55 calories and 7g sugar. Note that you also have the cold foam flavor options as in the cold brew drinks above, and if you choose those flavoring from the syrup will add extra calories and sugar. This article has a good breakdown of the calories in cold foam and how the type of milk and flavoring factors in. 
  • Nitro Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew: 70 calories, 4g sugar, a pretty satisfying and safe bet that will give you an extra zing of caffeine. 
Billtster @ Adobe Stock

You crave: A colorful cold drink with less caffeine

If you are tempted by: Paradise Drink, Strawberry Acai, Mango Dragonfruit, Pineapple Passionfruit, or any frozen version of these drinks (all featured on Starbucks’ cold drink menu) , get ready to take in 100-150 calories and at least 20-35g of sugar

You might as well have:

A Coke (or equivalent soda) at 140 calories, 39g sugar, or a Cosmo (167 calories and 8g sugar) or a Mojito 160 calories, 20g sugar. 

But you can still have your cake and order: 

Note the “lemonade” version of these drinks will add about 50 calories. Also, adding stevia to ANY of these drinks is an option to sweeten them up! 

Total with half and half – 87 calories 

Total with heavy cream – 112 calories 

More reading

10 Best Low-Calorie Starbucks Drinks to Order

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