Tips for Healthier Summer Starbucks Drinks in 2021

Tips for Healthier Summer Starbucks Drinks in 2021

A cold Starbucks drink on a hot summer day is something we look forward to all winter long. There’s a Starbucks on every corner, luring us in with delicious seasonal flavors, refreshing iced teas, and caffeinated pick-me-ups. But if you’re not careful, it’ll also pile on the sugar!

“High sugar content can make drinks at Starbucks unhealthy,” says Holly Klamer, MS, RDN. “For example, some drinks have over 30 grams of sugar, which is more than the daily recommended intake of sugar for a woman.”

If you wanna stay cool while staying focused on your health goals, here’s everything you need to know about healthy Starbucks summer drinks.

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4 Tips for Healthy Starbucks Summer Drinks

woman drinking a cup of coffee -- Starbucks summer drinks

Here are some tips on how to make healthy Starbucks drinks!

1. Lighten up!

If you see the words “lite” or “skinny” on the Starbucks menu, it usually means it has fewer pumps of syrup (or a sugar-free syrup), nonfat milk instead of whole, and no whipped cream. All of these revisions lower the calorie and sugar count.

2. Opt for one pump

“For flavored drinks, request only one pump of syrup,” advises Klamer. “Most flavored drinks come with three pumps as the default, but only using one pump of flavor can cut back on added sugar” and, in turn, excess calories.

Even the sugar-free syrups should be consumed in moderation. If you’re following Sugar Free 3, reserve them for your weekly mindful indulgence (since they’re not on the approved list). Check out these 19 sugar-free Starbucks drinks instead.

Starbucks holiday drinks often pack an excess of sugar, so if you want to indulge in that peppermint mocha or eggnog latte when winter rolls around, just remember the one-and-done rule!

3. Choose lighter milks

“Whole milk is usually the default milk option for most coffee drinks,” explains Klamer. Instead, “Ask for a 2%, nonfat, or almond milk for lower-calorie options.”

4. Create a healthier version of your favorite drink

If you’re eyeing a certain beverage, but it’s full of excess sugar, calories, and fat, go the DIY route for custom Starbucks summer drinks. Figure out what exactly you’re craving: Is it cinnamon? Vanilla? Something fruity?

Start out with a simple base like an iced Americano, and ask for a low calorie milk with sugar-free syrups or spices to get the taste you desire, without all the refined carbs.


Ask For This at Starbucks

Choose these lower-calorie Starbucks drinks for a healthier summer beverage that won’t mess with your nutrition goals.

1. Honey Almondmilk Cold Brew

Honey Almondmilk cold brew -- Starbucks summer drinks

Honey lovers can enjoy this healthier Starbucks option all summer long. “The Honey Almondmilk Cold Brew is a lower-sugar, lower-calorie, [and] health[ier] option,” says Klamer. “It provides only 30 calories and 5 grams of sugar for the 12-ounce size.”

2. Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso

Iced chocolate Almondmilk shaken espresso -- Starbucks summer drinks

This is a good Starbucks drink for chocolate addicts! Try this chocolatey espresso drink if you want to get a nice jolt of caffeine without a total calorie dump, suggests Klamer. In the 12-ounce serving, it’s got 80 calories and 11 grams of sugar, and it tastes delicious!

3. Teavana Sparkling Unsweetened Peach Nectarine Green Tea

Teavana Sparkling Unsweetened Peach Nectarine Green Tea -- Starbucks summer drinks

If you’re in a rush and just need something to grab and go, try this bottled unsweetened green tea. This combination of hibiscus, lemongrass, peach, nectarine, and green tea flavor is to die for, and it’s calorie-free with no sugar added!

4. Cold Brew Coffee with Milk and Stevia

Cold Brew Coffee with Milk and Stevia -- Starbucks Summer Drinks

Keep it simple. The cold brew with milk only has 25 calories and 2 grams of sugar. If you don’t do dairy, opt for almond milk instead of 2%. To add some sweetness, add one or two packets of stevia.


3 DIY Starbucks Summer Drinks

Make your own copycat Starbucks beverages that are lighter, healthier, and lower in calories!

1. DIY Iced Vanilla Cinnamon Macchiato

Klamer suggests building your own iced latte or macchiato with almond milk, but “instead of whipped cream or chocolate drizzle on top, opt for cinnamon powder for extra flavor but without adding calories.” You can also add this calorie-free, sugar-free vanilla syrup to get that yummy vanilla flavor, but just go with one pump!

2. DIY Hazelnut Cold Foam Cold Brew

This copycat Starbucks drink gives you all the nutty goodness, without packing on those el-bees. A 12 oz Cold Brew with Cold Foam from Starbucks has 30 calories and 5 grams of sugar. Add 1 pump of hazelnut syrup and 1 pump of sugar-free vanilla syrup for a lighter, sweet drink!

3. DIY ‘Skinny’ Pink Drink

You know those Starbucks pink drinks that are always all over your Instagram feed? Yeah, they may look cute in a photo, but that 24-gram sugar crash is not gonna feel cute. Traditional Starbucks pink drinks usually contain a Strawberry Açaí Starbucks Refreshers Beverage, which has 20 grams of sugar on its own! No, thank you.

Instead, ask for zero calorie Iced Passion Tango Tea with almond milk and stevia. If you want a little extra sweetness, go for one pump of sugar-free vanilla syrup! It’s pink, it’s pretty, and it’s a lot lighter!