Many of our daily routines have changed, but a cup of morning coffee remains a staple for many. The first aromatic sip, the rich creamy consistency and the coveted energy boost from a serving of MCT oil, is a cornerstone of most morning routines, regardless of their chosen diet.
Coffee loyalists tend to have their favorite local shops and ubiquitous chains to grab their daily cup of Joe. And, for many, their coffee spot of choice is Starbucks, thanks to their cleverly concocted brews and casual yet classy ambiance.
But it's essential to choose your morning pleasure wisely, as selections like once-trending unicorn frappe or grande gingerbread coffee frappuccino can include as much as a whopping 68 grams of sugar per serving!
At that rate, you might as well have a bowl of Häagen-Dazs and make it worth the substantial sugary dietary blunder as it contains less sugar than some of these frothy drinks.
However, there are still many java options to enjoy when limiting carbs and omitting sugar from your diet. Plus, a couple of creative swaps or well-advised selections will keep you primed with a healthy roster of options when you're in the mood for a bit of a caffeine boost.
Here are some of the most carb-conscious beverages to consider trying at Starbucks:
Freshly-brewed Hot or Cold Coffee: Skip the heavily-concocted coffee beverages at your local shop and go for a classic freshly-brewed cup of hot or cold coffee—grinding the beans just before brewing makes all the difference.
Before all the fantastic creations rolled onto the Starbucks menu, the classically brewed bean in roasts ranging from blonde to their darker deeper-flavored varieties like Italian was the mainstay.
Opt for a classic cup of coffee, a dose of heavy cream, and a few drops of stevia, and you've got the perfect morning jolt with a creamy and sweet touch.
- Grande Espresso Coffee: If you’re seeking Bulletproof coffee dupe, ask the barista to pour your beverage over ice, with heavy cream and a couple pumps of sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup; it’s so decadent and delicious!
- Hot Brewed Tea: Coffee tends to live top-of-mind when you hear the name Starbucks, but remember that the outlet offers a wide variety of tea selections, as well.
The partnership between Teavana and Starbucks opens up an extensive catalog of options to those who prefer a little less caffeine kick or prefer fruittier concoctions.
As you explore the wide range of tea options to enjoy from the Starbucks menu, stick to the following flavorful tea selections to keep carbs low:
- Emperor’s Cloud and Mist Green Tea: If you’re looking for a well-rounded tea with a sweet and roasted, earthy taste, this tea offers a smoky and full-bodied flavor that mellows into a buttery finish.
- Jade Citrus Mint Green Tea: Hints of refreshing spearmint and green tea, along with lemongrass and lemon verbena in this offering, combine beautifully to create a perfectly balanced cooling effect that’s bright and invigorating.
- Mint Majesty Herbal Tea: Lemon verbena and lemon make the perfect pair in this refreshing tea selection. Plus, mint majesty tea can help you boost your immune system, improve digestion and reduce aches and pains!
- Passion Tango Herbal Tea: This boldly-hued crimson beverage combines the flavorful elements of hibiscus, apple and lemongrass with the perfect level of sweetness.
- Peach Tranquility Herbal Tea: The tropical flavors of peach and pineapple combine to make a marvelously fruity and satisfying summer-worthy libation. However, make sure to ask the barista to hold any added liquid sweeteners when blending the drink to avoid unwanted sugars.
- Royal English Breakfast Tea: A regal blend of lush, full-leaf black teas from India and Sri Lanka, Royal English Breakfast tea is keto-friendly as long as you alternate the liquid sweetener. Top this warm beverage with steamed milk—or even better, heavy cream—to create a velvety, smooth and silky foam.
- Teavana Earl Grey Brewed Tea: Enjoy a spicy citrus blend with complimentary notes of Italian bergamot, lemon and floral lavender, to create an aromatically amazing tea flavor.
- Youthberry White Tea: A fun and flavorful tea option that’s a great gateway to the wonderful world of tea. This option offers touches of lush hibiscus, rose hips, candied mango, apple, and white tea, but it’s a fabulous option on a low-carb, high-fat diet, since it’s also sugar-free.
- Cappuccino with Heavy Cream: Opt for a ‘tall’ to control calories from the luxurious cream in this beverage; plus, you save on carbs using heavy cream instead of milk or half and half.
- Grande Keto Pink Drink or White Drink: Request an iced Peach Citrus White Tea base with up to three pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup and a splash or two of heavy cream for a White Drink. Mimic the recipe for a low-carb Pink Drink, except it begins with Passion Tango Tea base rather than peach. No worries, either option comes in at less than 4g carbs per serving and are absolutely delicious.
Hot Tea Lattes:
You may think the latte is exclusive to coffee, but think again!
If you're a lover of a chill chai tea, you can remix the chain's chai tea latte with tea bags, hot water, stevia (or your preferred keto sweetener), a hearty helping of heavy cream, and a sprinkling of nutty and fragrant cinnamon.
You can also recreate fan favorites like a London Fog with the aid of Earl Grey tea bags, a keto-friendly sweetener, and vanilla extract—yum!
- Cold Brew Coffee: The process of cold brewing is perfect for those coffee lovers needing a cooling java to soothe them in the summer heat and want a full-bodied brew with zero aftertaste. The cold brew method is excellent as it guarantees a smooth and icy cup, each time.
- Espresso Shots: Opt for a taste of Italy even if you're stateside-bound. Plus, a rich and flavorful hit of the espresso is a great way to give yourself a quick pep to power through a day of endless multi-tasking.
- Americano: The coffee lover with a passion for a super-charged selection will love the Americano. This potent libation usually consists of a shot of espresso topped with hot water—offering a greater depth of flavor.
Low-Carb Frappuccino: The standard frappe mix at Starbucks is packed with sugar and one to pass on a keto diet. However, you can mimic this beloved beverage with a few simple hacks.
Ask for an unsweetened iced coffee with a dash of heavy cream rather than milk, along with two pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup. Ask the barista to blend the beverage ‘frap style’, and you’re golden!
- Iced Coffee: Pour hot coffee immediately over ice cubes in a heat-proof glass and your brew of choice is chilled to perfection in no time.
- Unsweetened Ice Tea or Brewed Tea on Ice: Again, tea is a fantastic beverage option at Starbucks for those following a keto diet. And it’s perfectly fine to sip sugar-free options whether hot or cold.
- Keto Ice Latte and Iced Caramel Macchiato: Combine a mixture of heavy cream, espresso, a keto-friendly sweetener like liquid stevia, monk fruit or a sugar alternative like the varieties made by Sukrin, and you’ll have a low-carb alternative that rivals the original.
Low-carb Mocha: Coffee and chocolate, like peanut butter and jelly, are a perfect pair.
Enjoy this coupling, along with steamed milk, whipped cream, and a shot of Jordan’s Skinny Mixes keto mocha syrup for a delicious and decadent java delight.
- Cafe au lait or Caffè Misto (1:1 ratio of black coffee to steamed milk): Ask the barista to make your beverage with almond milk instead of whole milk and save a load of carbs in the process!
- Mochaccino (a chocolate cappuccino): Chocolate and java-based beverages are an ideal pairing as the chocolate and coffee offer a symbiotic effect, each enhancing the flavor of the other.
Also, some sugar-free syrups contain less than good sweeteners that you may want to avoid. Instead, consider adding spices like cinnamon, cocoa powder, pumpkin spice, or nutmeg to add a little extra something special to your coffee.
Low Carb Snacks
You can also find several low-carb snacks to eat with your beverage of choice at Starbucks, or grab ahead to have a snack on-hand for later in the day. Here are some tasty keto-friendly options to consider at Starbucks:
- Cheddar Moon Cheese: Snacks with simple ingredients are your best bet on a ketogenic diet since there’s nowhere for pesky sugars to hide.
- Sopressata salami and Monterey Jack: Grab this savory snack pack for an option reminiscent of a mini charcuterie platter. Plus, this selection contains zero carbs, 15 grams of protein, and 17 grams of satiating fat!
- Snack tray with carrots, white cheddar, and almonds: Although it’s generally the goal to steer clear of higher-glycemic veggies like carrots, they may be a feasible option as it can work from a macronutrient standpoint, as long as you monitor your portions as is the case in this keto-friendly snack tray.
- Sous Vide Egg Bites: Starbucks provides a wide variety of keto-friendly beverage options, but one cannot live on drinks alone! Try a delicate veggie egg bite for a tasty, protein-packed selection to energize your day.
- Starbucks protein boxes are also a wonderful option to keep your meal keto-safe. Stick to eating the cheese, nuts, eggs, and only noshing on moderate amounts of the fruits included if they’re lower on the glycemic scale.
- Grilled Chicken & Cauliflower Tabbouleh Salad: You may need a healthy lunch or dinner option on-the-go, and options like Grilled Chicken & Cauliflower Tabbouleh Salad may be a good choice.
However, be mindful that a serving provides 15 grams of carbs, so consider eating half and saving some for later or adjusting your other carb intake for the rest of the day to keep your carb intake in check.
Plus, we've developed a few keto recipes that pair perfectly with your favorite morning beverage. Here are a few standouts:
- Delightful Zucchini Bread: Bake a sweet keto quick bread and enjoy it with your favorite heated or iced beverage—it’s always a welcomed addition.
- Keto Pumpkin Walnut Bread: Pumpkin is filled with fiber to support digestive health, plus it’s packed with potassium and vitamin C, all elements that encourage heart health.
- Super Creamy Strawberry Fat Bomb: Popping a few creamy strawberry fat bombs is the perfect treat to enjoy alongside your brewed beverage of choice.
- Keto Cheesecake Fat Bombs: Cheesecake in any form is a decadent dessert or a midday craving crusher that would work well with many of the sugar-free Teavana options offered at Starbucks.
- Keto Almond Cake Fat Bomb: A warm and cozy beverage is always the perfect delight to enjoy with a slice of keto almond fat bomb cake—it’s an excellent midday delight.
- Ultimate Chocolate PB Cheesecake Fat Bombs: Peanut butter and chocolate are a match made in foodie Heaven. The flavors of either balance the other so well and create a rich and dense keto treat to dine on with your cup of Joe.
- Keto Apple Cider Spiced Donuts: Dunk an apple cider donut round into your classic coffee with creamer for a snack reminiscent of childhood.
- Keto Choc-Chip Cookie Dough Fat Bombs: What’s possibly better than an ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookie? A creamy and dreamy cookie dough fat bomb! Yum! Enjoy these sweet treats with a coffee or tea of your choice.
- Creamy Chocolate Keto Fat Bombs: Pop a creamy chocolate keto fat bomb to put yourself in an extra perky mood, even before any caffeine kicks into gear.
- Fudgy PB Fat Bombs: Fudge adds an extra special touch to top off any meal. Make a batch of our fudgy PB fat bombs and enjoy them on-the-go, they’re super portable.
- Chocolate Keto Pumpkin Fat Bombs: Get an extra dose of antioxidants and fiber with your morning or afternoon cup of brew with these delicious and nutritious little rounds.
- Love My Lemon Pound Cake: A moist and crumbly slice of pound cake makes for a satisfying and slightly indulgent breakfast option; it’s awesome with coffee or tea!
Plus, you can curtail carbohydrate and sugar intake by applying some of the following techniques:
- Serve yourself: Order your coffee black and add the cream and sweetener yourself so you know exactly what you’re consuming and how much.
- Downsize: Ask for less milk in your beverage or reduce the size of your drink to limit caloric and carb intake.
- Choose sugar-free options: Make sure the syrups or mixes you’re using are sugar-free, and remain mindful of intake even in this case as blends may contain sucralose or other subprime sugar alternatives that can halt weight loss.
- Skip the sugary extras: The management of sugar intake is often won or lost in the extras we toss into our drinks or dressings we pour on salads. Skip crumbles, sugar-based syrups or any other topping that may compromise ketosis.
- Skip the dairy: Heavy cream is an excellent low-carb creamer, but whole milk contains considerably more carbs. Consider using unsweetened non-dairy creamer options like cashew, almond, coconut, or hemp-based options to curtail carbs.
There are so many options to enjoy at Starbucks without derailing your diet, and this remains true as we near summer’s end and approach the holiday season. Here are a few tips to keep your favorite holiday Starbucks drinks free of overt sugars:
- - Consider remaking your Starbucks faves at home to take full control of all the ingredients included, as well as the amounts of each added.
- - Carry your favorite flavored stevia blends with you on-the-go so you can create any flavor profile you wish on a whim when out and about.
- - Choose the kiddie size or small portions of higher-carb beverages to enjoy the taste of the selection without overdoing the calories or carbs.
Coffee and tea is perfect virtually any time of day. Whether you’re in need of a morning jolt to start your day, simply love the aroma and flavor of brewed beverages and drink them daily, or you enjoy your Starbucks favorites midday for a topper to boost energy into the afternoon; you’re sure to find a divine and keto-friendly beverage option at your local Starbucks.
Plus, you’ll find several keto-friendly snacks or even options for lunch or dinner to eat that won’t derail your daily macros. Keep an eye on ingredients, monitor additions and sweetener types, and choose your creamers and food options cautiously to enjoy the convenience of dining at your favorite coffee spot without undoing all your hard work to achieve fat-adaptation and live life free of the perils of consuming excessive amounts of sugar.
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