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Swap the Starbucks: 17 Skinnier Recipes Worth Sipping

By , SparkPeople Blogger
The modern coffee house has become the de facto office space for thousands of work-from-home Americans, including yours truly.  When I need to change of scenery or to interact in-person with other human beings, my local java joint is my go-to option.  The people-watching is decent and I will often bump into a friend, which approximates the traditional water-cooler conversation. It’s also a place for nutritional choices and I often find myself struggling to stick to the program. Whether it’s the sweet aromas or the attractive displays, many of the items in the forefront are loaded with calories and easily put me over the top on my daily sugar intake. not to mention how terrible I feel later.  Even worse are the hidden calories in my original favorite drink, the latte. I thought I was being so healthy, because there was no minimal sugar, only to find out how many calories are in the deceptively large servings. I am happy to share, however, that I have learned a lot over the last year to take control of the coffee house menu to make it work for me and my health needs. 
  • Grab a cup of tea instead of coffee. Mix multiple tea bags to create a unique flavor. My favorite blend is green, mint and chamomile.
  • Try an Americano, which is espresso and hot water, instead of espresso and milk (a latte). My go-to holiday choice is an Americano with a splash of eggnog. 
  • Order a small (Starbuck's calls this "Short") or kid’s size serving of your favorite drink. That way you get all the flavor, but with fewer calories.
  • Try sugar-free syrups or using non-fat milk instead of full fat milk.
  • Order a mini or petite size dessert. 
I also took the challenge to find my favorite coffee house recipes made from home with healthy ingredients. If you go to a coffee shop regularly like I do, these recipes will save you money and will help you reach your health goals. Grab your favorite book or journal and warm up with one of these recipes. 

Iced Coffee

Faster, cheaper and just as rich and delicious but so much more healthy than the restaurant versions. Try substituting the unsweetened chocolate Almond Breeze almond milk.

CALORIES: 58.4  |  FAT: 3.5g  |  PROTEIN: 1.3g  |  CARBS: 10.5g  |  FIBER: 1.2g

Mock Frappuchino or Mocha Latte

Easy way to enjoy coffee and chocolate without leaving the house.
CALORIES: 150.5  |  FAT: 1.4g  |  PROTEIN: 8.6g  |  CARBS: 22.7g  |  FIBER: 1g

Simple Spiced Chai

This is how I make chai when I need something warm that makes me feel enveloped in comfort without the added calories of my former addiction: hot chocolate. It's spicier and lighter in taste than any chai from a coffee shop.
CALORIES: 91.1  |  FAT: 2.7g  |  PROTEIN: 4.4g  |  CARBS: 13.3g  |  FIBER: 1.4g

Low Cal, Low Fat Eggnog

CALORIES: 70.1  |  FAT: 2.3g  |  PROTEIN: 5.9g  |  CARBS: 7.7g  |  FIBER: 0g

White Chocolate Peppermint Latte

Try this delicious 70 calorie decadent treat and celebrate the season.
CALORIES: 63.6  |  FAT: 0.8g  |  PROTEIN: 0.4g  |  CARBS: 13g  |  FIBER: 5g

Skinny Caramel Macchiato

Simple way to enjoy a coffee shop specialty.
CALORIES: 77.5  |  FAT: 1.6g  |  PROTEIN: 3.2g  |  CARBS: 12.8g  |  FIBER: 0.1
Fat Free Vanilla Coffee Creamer Substitute

A homemade coffee creamer substitute free of fat and lower in calorie than store bought. It has protein and there is nothing artificial.

CALORIES: 14.5  |  FAT: 0g  |  PROTEIN: 0.5g  |  CARBS: 2.8g  |  FIBER: 0.1g
Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Latte

There aren't a whole lot of nutritious warm pumpkin beverages. I'm not a coffee fan, but this is delicious.

CALORIES: 123.6  |  FAT: 0.5g  |  PROTEIN: 8.7g  |  CARBS: 19.5g  |  FIBER: 0.5g

Homemade Baked Goods

Espresso Biscotti

CALORIES: 149.4  |  FAT: 7.2g  |  PROTEIN: 2.7g  |  CARBS: 19g  |  FIBER: 0.8g

Cranberry-Almond Oatmeal Cookies

Pumpkin is subbed for butter in this lowfat treat! Cranberries and almonds add flavor and nutrition.
CALORIES: 64.3  |  FAT: 1.2g  |  PROTEIN: 1.6g  |  CARBS: 14.4g  |  FIBER: 1.3g

Chai-Spiced Banana-Nut Muffins with Candied Ginger

These spicy banana-nut muffins are packed with flavor but not sugar. Candied ginger stands in for sugar.
CALORIES: 183.5  |  FAT: 10.1g  |  PROTEIN: 3.1g  |  CARBS: 24.6g  |  FIBER: 3.2g

Oatmeal Scones

Oatmeal-brown sugar scones.
CALORIES: 155.6  |  FAT: 8.3g  |  PROTEIN: 2.4g  |  CARBS: 24g  |  FIBER: 1.7g

Raspberry-Lemon Scones

Scones are perfect for weekend house guests, hostess gifts, or picnics. Traditionally made with loads of butter and cream, mine use far less butter--and whole-grain flour.
CALORIES: 180.3  |  FAT: 5.3g  |  PROTEIN: 5.7g  |  CARBS: 30.1g  |  FIBER: 4.9g

Apple Coffee Cake

Apples and raisins provide the moistness, which means less oil can be used in this low saturated fat, low cholesterol, and low sodium coffee cake.
CALORIES: 182.3  |  FAT: 4.6g  |  PROTEIN: 2.8g  |  CARBS: 33.8g  |  FIBER: 1.9g
Quick & Simple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

A simple and easy coffee cake.

CALORIES: 126.7  |  FAT: 5.1g  |  PROTEIN: 2.2g  |  CARBS: 18.1g  |  FIBER: 0.4g

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Indulge your sweet tooth by biting into crisp mini chocolate cookies packed with melted pockets of chocolate chips.
CALORIES: 41.8  |  FAT: 1.7g  |  PROTEIN: 0.7g  |  CARBS: 6.5g  |  FIBER: 0.4g

Mint Chocolate Chip-Oat Cookies

You'll never know these cookies are lower in fat! Customize your cookies by using any flavor of "chips" you prefer.
CALORIES: 69.2  |  FAT: 2.9g  |  PROTEIN: 0.8g  |  CARBS: 12.5g  |  FIBER: 0.3g


Low Fat Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This is inspired by Starbucks' low fat chocolate chip banana bread and is great with coffee. Although many of the ingredients are low fat, the bread comes out very moist.
CALORIES: 149  |  FAT: 4g  |  PROTEIN: 2.8g  |  CARBS: 27.2g  |  FIBER: 1.3g

What is your favorite coffee house recipe? 
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DEE107 2/21/2021
thanks Report
_CYNDY55_ 1/3/2021
Thanks Report
MUSICNUT 11/21/2020
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
CECELW 11/17/2020
I would love to try some of these Report
WALKZWDOGZ 10/22/2020
Sugar free Pumpkin pie Torani (not the pumpkin spice one), salted caramel & hazelnut syrups have me not missing coffee stands much. Report
LEAMERS7780 7/11/2020
These are wonderful! Can't wait to try one tomorrow morning! Report
nice Report
thank you Report
Thanks for sharing Report
i've never heard of vanilla soy milk Report
all good stuff Report
Thanks Report
Thanks for sharing Report
a lot of these are my favorite! Report
I try to support LOCAL coffee shops: the money stays in the community! Also, I look for, and ASK for fair trade coffee, to help the coffee-growing communities. (I've also found some brands that are grown primarily by women; women earning money goes deeper into communities and families, because they *prioritize* families, versus frivolities (like alcohol—not that I've got anything against alcohol!) Report
Great tips! Report
Why not publish a keto friendly list? Report
thanks Report
fantastic information Report
Awesome ideals Report
Thanks for reminder Report
Awesome ideas! Report
Good ideas. Report
Love coffee. I want to try some of these. I also love the idea of avoiding SB . I can save money and country at the same time. Report
Starbucks is about coffee, plain old joe. You don't need to add anything to enjoy coffee. Report
I use my Starbucks obsession as my occasional treat, especially for hard gym days... so I'll keep my caramel and sugar there :) (Though I do always substitute the coconut milk. I don't do well with Almond and the flavor is amazing - but I also love coconut.)

At home, though, I have their Verissimo 'espresso' brewer. Just a shot of espresso and a half cup of unsweetened vanilla coconut milk makes my morning coffee clock in at around 23 calories. I can totally deal with that! Report
I cannot wait to try some of these. Report
Pinned so I can find these later. I always make my coffee at home Report
I can't wait to try some of these! Report
Great odeas. Going to make creamer. Report
Great ideas. I'm definitely try a few of them. Report
I am happy Starbucks finally started offering Almond Milk recently. I usually get skim because I need to avoid soy, but, almond milk doesn't take as big a bite out of my calorie budget. Report
I've been noticing (was never told this in person at the Starbucks stores) on the Starbucks app that they do have #lowcarb #KETO #LCHF options beyond the 2% milk default. In our area, they also offer coconut milk (a little too thin for me - I'd rather have almond or hemp milk) and heavy whipping cream as options. They also offer soymilk, but that is not something I can handle - too estrogenic and messes with my thyroid and other hormonal levels in my body. So these days I prefer to customize my drinks with the app and then order it to go. Also I find a lot of the foods there - they don't put the ingredient list out where we can easily see it... but...I've noticed I'll get the dreaded "Soybean Bellyache" and look it up later and find out they are using various soybean derivatives in the food. So if you have soy allergies - watch out!! Report
Fabulous! I'm a big fan of sugar-free flavour shots in a medium sized brewed coffee, or else a large tea with an extra bag, left to steep while I chat or work. It feels like a warm, fragrant and rich treat--but, calorie-wise, it's just a coffee, or just a tea. Report
Yes this article is winning, I love these ideas and will be giving some a go thank you *saved* Report
Thank you for this!! :) Report
Sugar-free Torani is my best friend. :-)
HOW TO WEEN YOURSELF OFF of Starbuck's high-calorie coffee-drinks: It worked for me. Not saying it will work for everyone, but it's worth a try.

Here's how to do it. Order an Americano, don't add cream or sugar. Eat it with something sweet like the Starbuck's madeline cookies. Take a sip, then take a bite. Eat all three the first few times. Then back down to two, then one. Then try it with something savory instead (a plain croissant or breakfast sandwich). Eventually you will like the taste of black coffee, without the sugar and cream; and you will no longer need the sweet things to go along with it. If you love your morning coffee, doing this will save you hundreds of calories per day. Report
I love Chai Tea with International Delights Caramel no fat no sugar creamer. I make it hot and ad the creamer and a pinch of salt in enhance the flavour. Plus a stevia for an extra sweet taste. It's delish! Report
My summer go-to at Starbucks is a caramel iced coffee with soy milk. That being said, I worked at a coffee shop for a couple of years, and I can make a meaner cuppa joe than they can (with better tasting coffee)! Report
Thanks for all the suggestions. I usually use a half cup of regular coffee, a half packet of instant cocoa (like Swiss Miss) and a half cup non-fat milk, mixing the cocoa in the hot coffee, then adding the milk and ice. If I need it, I'll add a spoonful of instant expresso. Report
yummy Report
Thanks for the yummy looking recipes. Will give them a try soon. Report
As a teenager, I worked in a local coffee shop where I was surrounded by temptation all of the time! I figured out how to brew my coffee beverages and drink them too (without putting on extra pounds). I always tried to share my coffee with someone else and I would make one large version of whatever we were craving that day with coconut milk instead of any of the others available and then I would use a sugar free syrup...then spilt the one drink into two cups and fill it the rest of the way with water or flavored coffee. I still pull this trick...EVEN at McDs. :-) order 1 large specialty drink and 1 large regular coffee, ask for an extra cup and. mix up the magic!

SIDE NOTE: My boss actually added coconut milk to the menu after I got a bunch customers interested in it. Don't be afraid to ask your local coffee shop to make changes for the better. Report
I don't really care for Starbucks at the best of times. I don't like uber-sweet beverages, and their coffee tastes like butt.

I DO, however, like the idea of blending teas. I'm going to try that green mint chamomile next time I have to meet friends there!
Thank you for this! Report
What a wonderful blog!!! Report
I just discoverd using light vanilla latte muscle mild in place of creamer, it whitens, sweetens and is WAY WAY less calories and sugar. plus a bit of protein. win win Report
I had to save to favorite. Wonderful ... just wonderful. So much information, I'll be enjoying far into 2013.