• jesswyly

The secrets to ordering “clean” at Starbucks, a dietitians perspective.

How can we make better for you choices when ordering a barista brew? Well, I may have some experience, I'd be lying if I said I wasn’t on my way to receiving gold star status on my loyalty card... and will purchase usually 2-3 times per week, a “specialty beverage” or just a plain brew, so what are my secrets to ordering something clean?

First off, we do not need to avoid specialty drinks all together, there are options and modifications, but the impact on your wallet is entirely up to you.


Be size wise. Portion control, ya no surprise here. Just like with the foods we eat, portioning can make a big difference. Why are we ordering large, extra, large, quad Venti? Do you really need that? Order a short or a tall if you want to go real deal on the indulgent treats.


  • Ask for “skinny”-- this modification means lower fat milk, and sugar free flavour

  • Ask for half sweet-- this means half the amount of sugar latent flavour pumps

  • No whip-- duh, didn’t need me to tell you that

  • Try a cute size the “short cup”

  • Try a milk alternative like almond or coconut milk as they add flavour without tons of sugar

  • Hold that drizzle fo’ shizzle, or at least ask for light drizzle


  • Flat White

  • Skinny Vanilla Latte

  • MY FAV: Mocha half sweet, made with coconut milk

  • Americano misto, with 1 shot of sugar free caramel

  • Tea latte? Make a custom tea latte, order it half sweet. Custom team doesn’t use the premix, so sugar can be controlled

coffee, milk, cold brew, starbucks
Watch the quick vid below for making this icy brew!


  • Order a tall size, in a venti cup (more water, more ice!)

  • Have your drink make with milk instead of Cream (skim, almond, coconut, non-dairy)

  • Ask your barista to use a packet of stevia to flavour your refresher or shaken tea-- they will do this for you!

  • Half-sweet is an option here too

  • No whip again for obvious reasons

  • Sugar-free syrup (vanilla, cinnamon dulce)


  • Cascara cold brew

  • Nitro cold brew infusion

  • Cold tea infusions with less sugar: mango dragon fruit--whattt?

  • Venti Iced Water- always a good option

  • Ask your barista to sweeten your drink with a stevia packet instead

  • Make your own at home--watch the quick vid below for modifying your icy brew!

Ok so there you have it, some tips to help modify your coffee grind. On a side, note, a lot of clients ask me about caffeine intake….now, that is one thing I don’t mess with when it comes to people’s diet records/nutrition recommendations, is their coffee! Unless…

  1. It is well beyond the 400mg of caffeine suggested per day (1 -8oz cup of dark roast has approx. 150 mg caffeine)

  2. It is loaded with fat, and refined sugars

A bit about CAFFEINE

Health Canada warns us about our caffeine consumption, saying that small amounts of caffeine are not a concern for most Canadians, but like anything, consuming too much caffeine can cause insomnia, headaches, irritability, and nervousness, Sheesh, I have irritability and nervousness without caffeine! But either way, we know that caffeine is a stimulant that speeds up the central nervous system, stimulates the brain, elevates the mood and postpones fatigue-- this varies of course based on your metabolism. Caffeine itself is found in many foods/beverages like chocolate, tea and coffee--which is the topic of discussion.

How much is too much you ask?

The limit recommended according to Health Canada is 400mg per day, which would be 3 cups (8oz) or so, depending on the strength you like your coffee. Here are some references to help you break it down:

  • cup of brewed coffee: 135-150 mg - (this is an 8oz cup)

  • cup of instant coffee: 76–106 mg

  • cup of decaffeinated coffee: about 3 mg

Now, let’s get to the good stuff! Here is a delicious recipe for DIY cold brew coffee at home, using a pre-bottled Buck’s cold brew coffee: Watch the video below. Also, if you would like the recipe for Cold Brew Overnight oats sign up for my newsletter and get it now!

#coldbrew #starbucks #healthy #coffee #tea #breakfast #morning #dietitian #secrets #eatclean

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