The Starbucks Shuffle

The alarm clock goes off way too early for most of us. Caffeine helps us through the painful process that is known as ‘early morning’. Sadly, though, we’re often too rushed even to make our coffee at home. Or we’d like a bit more of a caffeine boost around 10:30am. Or 3:30 pm.

Enter Starbucks, naturally.

Now, coffee isn’t usually classified as terribly threatening to your diet plans. A black cup has basically zero calories. No worries.

But how many of us actually get plain black coffee at Starbucks?

Don’t lie.

It ain’t many of us.

If your weight loss plans aren’t coming to fruition and you can’t figure out why, you, my friend, may need to take a look at your Starbucks habit.

And no, I’m not just talking about the Venti Double-Chocolate-Chip extra-whipped cream Frappaccino. We all know that is bad news, or at least we should (I’m looking at you, Britney Spears.)


Seemingly normal, moderately sized drinks at the Buck can pack a serious caloric punch.

Grande Caramel Macchiato? You’ll have to run about 2 ½ miles to burn off those 230 calories.


Vanilla Latte? Café Latte? 190 calories without breaking a sweat.

A café mocha will cost you 260 calories, as will a cinnamon dolce latte.


One of those prepackaged ‘Double Shot’ drinks has 210 calories, along with 12% of your daily saturated fat.


And don’t even think about getting a white hot chocolate or a white chocolate mocha. Seriously. 420 and 400 calories, respectively.


If the only change you made to your diet and lifestyle was to cut out your daily café mocha, it wouldn’t even take you two weeks to lose a pound.

Don’t swear off your old friend just yet. There are options that will keep you on the caloric straight-and-narrow.

Black coffee– First and foremost, this is your cleanest and most natural options. Nothing artificial or scary about this one. Easy on the cream and sugar, though.


Espresso shot– Coffee’s intense, Euro big brother. If you can stomach it, espresso will wake you up in a hurry with basically no calories. The added bonus is that you can pretend you’re in a Parisian café while drinking it.


Flavoured coffee- Flavoured coffee doesn’t have any extra calories because it is flavoured. If you’re skeptical, I feel ya. I’ve devoted a LOT of googling to this very subject, because I didn’t totally believe it. As it turns out, flavouring is added during the coffee roasting process, not as a sugary syrup after the fact. If you can’t stomach the bitterness of black coffee, this is likely a good option for you.

Americanos and flavoured Americanos- An Americano is a drink made from an espresso shot and hot water. I’m not a sophisticated coffee drinker and, to me, a plain Americano tastes very much like black coffee. You can, however, add sugar-free syrup to these babies if you’re feeling like something a little jazzy. One of my favourite summer coffee orders is a ‘Venti Sugar-Free-Vanilla Iced Americano with an extra shot’. That’ll wake you up and is sure to elicit eye-rolls from your boyfriend.


The ‘Skinny’ Options- On the Starbucks menu, you’ll see some of the more elaborate espresso drinks with a ‘skinny’ option. This means nonfat milk, sugar free syrup, and no whipped cream. Obviously, this is a great improvement on their not-so-skinny counterparts. Unless I’m really, really craving a latte, though, I steer clear of them—and I’d advise you to do the same. Even though they’re skinny, they’ve still got around 100 calories. Those are calories I’d rather do without. I’m generally of the opinion that if I’m going to be drinking calories, I at least want them to be alcohol.

Tea and, specifically, Iced, Unsweetened Passion Tea-If you want something tasty to drink but don’t need a pile of caffeine, the tea options at Starbucks might be right up your alley. If you’re chilly, obviously go for the traditional hot tea. They’re calorie free, of course. In the summer, though, one of my favourite things to order is a ‘Venti Iced Unsweetened Passion Tea’. Floral, fruity, and bright pink, it is a super tasty and refreshing herbal tea—you can even sweeten it with Spenda if you need to. Just be CAREFUL ordering it, remembering that you want just ‘passion tea’, not ‘passion tea lemonade’. If you get a Passion Tea Lemonade, you might as well pour spoonfuls of sugar down your gullet.


Now, go and enjoy your daily coffee run, without gaining an ounce!