Low-calorie options to try on your next Starbucks run 

By Kaye Lopez | Lead photo by Dmitry Schemelev/Unsplash

If you’re anything like me and my students, the best part of a morning training session is time spent bonding over breakfast. One of our go-to spots is a nearby Starbucks such as the one beside SM Mall of Asia IMAX or at Pontevia along Daang Hari, Las Piñas. Starbucks might not seem like the best place to refuel after a tough workout, but as long as you know what to order, you can make your Starbucks pit stop a wholesome one.

Brewed Coffee, Pressed Coffee, or Cafe Americano 

The lowest calorie coffee-based drink you can find at Starbucks is a good old cup of coffee. Whether you like it brewed, pressed, or espresso-based, as long as you take it black, a short cup has virtually no calories. Their brewed coffee contains five calories while their cafe americano has 10. It’s like drinking water with a caffeine kick.

Cafe Misto

My morning coffee isn’t complete without a splash of milk and sugar so I usually order a short, nonfat, one brown sugar cafe misto. It’s a perfect balance of half filter coffee and half steaming hot milk. If you order as specified, this drink contains only 50 calories. Substitute brown sugar with sugar-free vanilla syrup or Splenda to slash off 15 calories.

Skinny Cappuccino

A short skinny cappuccino, unsweetened or sweetened with Splenda or sugar-free vanilla syrup, has as little as 50 calories. Thanks to its seemingly decadent but virtually nonfat and calorie-free milk foam, it gives the sensation of a drink with cream on top without the extra calories.

Skinny Latte

Need a morning protein boost? Order a short nonfat latte to jumpstart your daily dose of protein. It will only cost you 70 calories for the sugar-free version and an additional 15 calories for a packet of brown sugar.

Skinny Peppermint Mocha

At only 70 calories for a short cup, it’s a great portable drink to keep you company when driving through rush-hour traffic during the holidays or just chilling at the cafe.

Full-leaf Brewed Tea

Not a coffee drinker? Grab a full-leaf brewed tea for a hot zero-calorie drink. To add a touch of sweetness, enjoy with a 15-calorie single-serve tub of honey, free of charge. If you like having your tea with milk, a creamier short nonfat tea latte adds an extra 75 calories.

Skinny Chai Tea Latte

For a more exotic, coffee-free, and low-calorie option, try a nonfat chai tea latte. It has a hint of spice that blends well with milk. Savor a short cup for only 100 calories.

Skinny Hot Chocolate

A short cup of nonfat hot chocolate is the perfect post-workout drink. Order this 140-calorie drink sans the whipped cream when you’re looking for a grab-and-go snack to top up your glycogen stores after a tough workout. It contains the recommended 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates and protein.

Feel free to order any of these hot drinks iced to enjoy a single-serving-size upgrade without the extra calories. Another trick is to skip the sprinkles and opt for cinnamon, nutmeg, or cocoa instead. And always begin your order with “short, nonfat, no whip…” or go for the “light” version. That way, you don’t have to give up your Starbucks habit yet still enjoy your favorite drink with a lot less guilt.