Starbucks Offers a Lot of Low-Cal Drink Choices

Starbucks coffee cups lined up on a coffee shop counter
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It's hard to walk by a Starbucks without stopping to get a sweet caffeine fix, so helpful in getting through a packed day of work and after-school activities. But if you're trying to cut back on sugar and calories, rethink your drink—some yummy caffeinated beverages have more calories than your lunch. The good news is that Starbucks offers multiple, low-calorie options to satisfy your taste buds and keep you going.

1. Iced Skinny Mocha

Sweet and chocolaty, this iced coffee drink combines bittersweet Skinny Mocha sauce with espresso and nonfat milk. A tall has only 90 calories and 7 grams of sugar and a grande has 120 calories and 8 grams of sugar. The Skinny Mocha sauce is sugar-free and sweetened with sucralose, which is how this drink is able to keep a lid on calories. The nonfat milk helps, too. By comparison, the traditional Iced Caffe Mocha made with 2 percent fat milk has 260 calories in a tall, and a whopping 350 calories in a grande. Going for the Skinny drink at Starbucks is a good idea when cutting calories.

2. Caramel Light Frappuccino Blended Coffee

If you like your coffee drinks more milkshake than coffee, the lightened version of the Caramel Frappuccino blended coffee might be the low-cal Starbucks coffee drink for you. It blends ice, nonfat milk, light frappuccino syrup, Starbucks signature coffee and mocha sauce. The light frappuccino syrup is sweetened with stevia, a non-calorie sweetener. The tall has only 100 calories and 22 grams of sugar, while the grande has 120 calories and 29 grams of sugar. Ordering the lightened version of this popular drink saves you more than 200 calories, with 300 calories in the tall Caramel Frappuccino Blended Coffee and 420 calories in the grande.

3. Nonfat Caffe Latte

The caffe latte is a more traditional coffee drink and simply combines steamed milk with espresso. To lighten it, use nonfat milk. A tall nonfat caffe latte has 100 calories and 14 grams of sugar, and a grande 120 calories and 18 grams of sugar.

To save even more calories and sugar, use the almond milk offered by Starbucks in place of the nonfat cow's milk. A tall almond milk caffe latte has 80 calories and 4 grams of sugar, while the grande has 100 calories and 5 grams of sugar. While plant milk offers a nice alternative to cow's milk, be aware that the soy milk is not as low in calories as the almond milk. A tall caffe latte made with soy milk has 150 calories and 14 grams of sugar. However, a coconut milk caffe latte finds itself somewhere in the middle with 110 calories and 9 grams in a tall.

4. Caffe Americano

Drinking calories can add up fast if you're not careful. The best way to save calories at Starbucks is to keep it simple. The caffe Americano is low in calories and sugar free, made by blending shots of espresso with hot water. A tall caffe Americano has only 10 calories, while the grande has 15 calories. If you're getting the caffe Americano, you may be able to splurge on venti, which has only 25 calories. To keep calories to a minimum, be careful with sweeteners and lighteners, which can add calories fast. Use sugar substitutes and a splash of milk to keep calories low. If you prefer regular sugar, one packet has 23 calories.

5. Shaken Iced Tea

If you're a tea drinker, Starbucks has an entire line of low-calorie teas in a variety of flavors. The Teavana Shaken Iced Tea line includes flavors such as pineapple black tea infusion, passion tango and strawberry green tea infusion. Each refreshing flavor has only 30 calories and 8 grams of sugar in a 12-ounce serving, and 45 calories and 11 grams of sugar in a 16-ounce serving. Starbucks also offers an iced tea, lemonade blend called Teavana Shake Iced Black Tea Lemonade that's a little higher in calories then other teas, but lower than many of the coffee drinks, with 70 calories and 16 grams of sugar in a 12-ounce serving, and 90 calories and 22 grams of sugar in a 16-ounce serving.

6. Brewed Tea

If you're looking for a drink at Starbucks that's completely calorie free, go with brewed tea. One cup of Earl Grey has zero calories and zero grams of sugar. The same is true for all the herbal teas, including Mint Majesty, Peach Tranquility, Oprah Cinnamon Chai Tea and Passion Tango. The plain green tea, English breakfast and white teas are also calorie-free. But like the caffe Americano, to keep calories low in your brewed tea drinks from Starbucks, watch the added sweeteners and lighteners. While brewed tea makes a good no-calorie option, be careful with some of the tea drinks, such as the chai latte, which has 190 calories in a tall.