Food Showdown: Battle of the Blended Beverages

By , SparkPeople Blogger
As the weather warms up, you might take refuge in smoothie shops and coffee houses to cool down. Starbucks has long been a go-to destination for sippable summertime treats, and the chain has come out with some healthier options in recent years. However, some are better for you than others; many of the frozen drinks that are marketed as ''healthy'' are simply glorified milkshakes, even before the whipped cream and extra syrups.

If you were to grab a frozen drink on a hot summer day, which Starbucks pick would be lowest in calories and sugar: the Grande Green Tea Frappuccino® Blended Crème (no whipped cream), made with sweetened green tea and 2% milk, or the Grande Chocolate Smoothie (no whipped cream), made with rich mocha sauce, banana, and 2% milk?
The Winner: Grande Chocolate Smoothie!

The Grande Chocolate Smoothie wins by a nose in the calorie department at 300 calories, vs. 310 calories for the Grande Green Tea Frappuccino® Blended Crème. The bigger difference is the sugar content: the Grande Chocolate Smoothie contains 34 grams of sugar, compared to 63 grams of sugar in the Green Tea. That's almost double the sugar! However, 34 grams of sugar is still quite a bit of the sweet stuff: about 8.5 teaspoons. You'd be better off making your own smoothie at home using fresh fruit, skim milk, and ice—hold the sugary syrups. If you do find yourself ordering a frozen treat at the Starbucks counter, stick with a Tall Mocha Frappuccino® Lite. It will only set you back 110 calories, and is one of the lowest-sugar options among the blended drinks. Better yet, stick with an unsweetened iced tea—it's calorie-free!

What's your favorite cool-down drink?


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PATRICIAAK 1/21/2020
:) Report
like my cold water Report
I am a big fan of Starbucks however I go there for coffee, sometimes a Clover, but but never for a blended drink. I do like getting a large ( grande) tea and ask for a package of honey. In airports SBUX has decent sandwiches, wraps, and salads all with the calirie count. Report
Those drinks are crazy - loaded with caffeine and sugar... Report
I've switched over to black iced tea this summer.. we'll see what happens next time my daughter is in the hospital and the caffeine and sugar combo is calling my name, lol, but for now, I'm sticking with tea! Report
I love Starbucks, but I am not a sugary person so I always get half the syrup. Plenty of sugar. Report
Haha the photo doesn't match the description ("no whipped cream") Report
This is my favoriate Starbucks drink.
Whole frozen banana, two shots expresso, small scoop ice, 8 oz soy milk, and 1 pump white mocha, plus 1 spoon protein powder if I need the extra boost. It's delicious, no easy way to order it, probably best to ask for a double shot, blended, add banana, add 1 pump white mocha. It's quite healthy and very filling. Report
I enjoy the coffee that I make at home. I use the Keurig and its all I need. Report
I don't believe the writer of this article knows what is in a chocolate smoothie: 2% milk, a whole banana, whey protein powder (it's unsweetened!), ice, and a small amount of mocha syrup. To make it a bit better for you, just sub non-fat milk for the 2%, and trade the regular mocha syrup for the sugar-free mocha syrup. To echo a couple of other posters, there is NO whipped cream on the chocolate smoothie (or chocolate syrup on top). In fact, the smoothies are some of the better things on the SBUX drink menu, because of the fruit (whole banana) and protein content. Report
At Starbucks I always just get the fat-free lattes. I don't think of the ' bucks as a place to go for a treat, but the place to go when I haven't had time to make my own coffee at home.

But my favorite cool beverages are either the mango-peach green tea Crystal Light (yes, chemicals, I know...) or fruit, almond milk, and yogurt smoothies I make at home. I don't trust Jamba Juice or those places that make smoothies with " smoothie mix." Report
I almost never get Starbucks (a few times a year...), but I saw that they had a happy hour deal on frappucinos for one week (I decided to randomly check the sugar content of my favorite: the green tea frap... and was shocked to see 63 grams listed)... My friends and I decided to go shopping and one of my friends mentioned the deal and suggested we buy some. However, I picked one of the other ones that didn't have quite so much sugar. Instead of getting the green tea frap now, I make my own version in protein shake form. I use one scoop of vanilla bean whey, 1/2 TB of matcha green tea powder, some stevia to sweeten, either coconut milk/unsweetened almond milk and ice cubes. So delicious... and a lot less sugar. It gives me a boost in the morning/post-workout. Report
Good article to spark some thought on what types of drinks we all prefer but for those of us who do go out for a treat, this article seems a little light. Still...something to think about. Report
Don't go for the coffee milkshake type drinks either, or coffee at all for that matter. Although I do enjoy hanging out at Starbucks occasionally with a great cup of tea and their Protein Box or yogurt. My favorite thirst-quenching drink? Unsweetened sun tea I make with a blend of herbal teas that taste like black tea. My family will go through a gallon a day of that in the summer! Report
I've never tried Starbucks. I was guilty of stopping at Quick Trip and getting a large coffee everyday. Then I realized one reason I wasn't losing weight like I thought I should was because I was adding just about more vanilla cream than I had coffee. Report
That's a mocha frappe. The chocolate smoothie doesn't come with whipped cream and only comes in the grande size. There's also no chocolate sauce like in the frappes. Report
How about covering other restaurants' beverages? I don't like Starbucks. Report
make your own frozen drinks at home theemn you knnnnnow what is in th Report
iced tripple expresso is my fufu drink Report
How much of that sugar content is natural milk sugar (lactose) from the milk? Report
I'll stick with just a plain iced coffee with cream and splenda -- low carb, high flavor, and all the creamy satisfaction of a blended drink. Yum! Report
Starvucks is too far of a drive for me to indulge in. Thank goodness~! Report
I've been drinking unsweetened ice tea or water with a splash of juice or lemon, it's refreshing. Report
I watch people zooming into star bucks and see the amount of drinks they buy- amazing how many calories are in those things. I have enought problem without starbucks- I am staying away completely... don't need another high calorie food to tempt me...LOL Report
Here's the thing with Starbucks: A tall is a 12 oz drink which should be more than plenty for anyone. A society is messed up when anything larger than a 12 oz coffee drink is considered 'normal.' So the trick is get a tall or short, omit the whipped cream, and get nonfat or soymilk. And then drink it as an indulgance only. Report
Iced Decaf Sugar Free Vanilla Soy Latte Report
I had my first Skinny Latte from Starbucks the other while at Barnes and Noble - - thought it was great~~~Makes a nice treat. Report
My 21 yo son and I came up with a healthy frozen drink after he had a high calorie smoothie at my gym. Fage plain non-fat greek yogurt, skim milk, ice, some honey, fresh banana and organic no salt added peanut butter. I'm going to try it next with unsalted almond butter. Report
dont like the smell of coffee, but nice article! Report
The Shaken Tea Lemonade (sweet) does is for me. Half the calories of this drink and a shot of vitamin C. And I only get one about once a month. Report
If I am wanting coffee I go for a ice coffee with a splash of almond or soy milk!!!! If I just want a refreshing cold drink Pelligrino over ice or black iced tea with a lemon.

Sometimes I muddle some mango or peaches at the bottom over my glass, then ice, then iced tea, with a lemon wedge...yummy. It's also nice with vodka. Report
Iced tea (unsweetened, why ruin a good tea?) on a hot day is fabulous. I also enjoy making iced mint water as well. Very refreshing! Having delicious, sugar free beverages around the house makes it easier not to cave into the temptation to drink carbonated beverages. Report
I hate coffee. Report
At home: iced coffee made with espresso, light milk, and a scant teaspoon of sugar; or iced sun teas; or a fruit smoothee made with banana, strawberries (or mixed frozen berries) water/ice and a scant tsp of agave syrup. Out: I usually order a skinny latte (hot even in summer), iced teas with lemon, no sugar; or a green smoothee made with pineapple, mango, nopal (cactus), and maybe some spinach or banana. I have never been addicted to the frozen coffee treats, the exception being coffee or frappucino ice cream. And I avoid that totally, as it's a trigger food for me. Report
These kind of beverages never look good to me. Too much ice, too much sugar and whipped cream tastes like melted plastic yuck! I make my own banana / strawberry/ orange/berry/ ginger/ yogurt/ milk smoothies in different variations).
And as I always tell to my coworkers if you are truly thirsty drink water not a triple chocolate mocca syrup blahhhh. Report
Truth is - I just avoid all those sugary frosty drinks. They seem like too many hidden calories. I make my own green slurpee with V8 fusion lite, frozen spinach, a few almonds and a banana. Mmmmm. delicious and good for your skin. Report
ah, of course. the least pleasant, sugarless tea is recommended as best. Naturally... Report
the skinny or light options would be great if i weren't allergic to splenda. but, even then, i still don't trust artificial stuff. i will stick with my normal iced drink, gradually decreasing the amount of sugar i add, and cut everything else down in the meantime. Report
For the most part I don't get the coffeeshop type drinks as to really get any form of Starbucks it is an hour drive away. But on the occasion when out of town, I will get a tall latte of some type from Barnes and noble, with soy and no whipped cream (well, most of the time cause when I say soy they ask about the whipped, since dairy makes me sick). Since I don't get it often, I'm okay with the calories. Report
I enjoy a grande skinny vanilla iced latte at Starbucks once in a while as a treat. At home I refrigerate leftover brewed coffee for a iced coffee later or brewed tea to make iced tea. A few splashes of lemon juice in ice water is quite a calorie free thrist quencher. Report
Thankfully enough i never got into coffee drinks, the way i order coffee out is a low fat cafe auit and i have alwasys thought of frozen coffee drinks as coffee milkshakes and only God knows why but i do not like milkshakes! Report
I miss my Starbucks Drinks but it was worth quitting them. They can be so terrible for you. Once in a while is plenty. Report
I prefer Biggby's skinny blended coffee drinks. You can get them sugar free and they still taste really good. Either that, or I'd just drink an iced coffee with a tablespoon of a flavored creamer. Report
Have to drive a bit to go to a Starbucks so I don't frequent the establishment often. I'm more of a coffee with flavored creamer person and since we have one more report that coffee is good for us for a multitude of reasons I feel really good about that. Report
Another junk article. Who cares...?

If you care calories so much, just stick with water or ice coffee with no sugar and milk. If you want to enjoy occasional sweet drinks, just indulge it and appreciate its taste, but try not to take it every day.

That should be enough. Report
I used to inhale these like they are going out of style, so glad I've passed on Buckstar's 1/2 price frapp promotion. 63 grams of sugar and it doesn't even taste that sweet, which is why I liked it. Yech!

So for me, I like kombucha plain or flavored with blended fruit. A cold kombucha really hits the spot. It's the reason why I no longer drink soda, not that I drank tons of it. Also, making it makes me smile! Report
surprise!! Report
Ironically, the picture features the chocolate smoothie *with* whipped cream. Report
There are so many options now with the frappuccinos. Get soy instead of milk. Get the "light" versions. You can get a grande frap with considerably fewer than 300 calories! Report
My favorite cool down drink is water. Plain water, or add a slice of lemon. Next would be the unflavored, unsweetened iced tea. Report