Coffee Shops for the Healthy Mama: What to Order



I know the allure of the Starbuck’s coffee more than most people.  I did spend the better of four years working there and making friends I still have today; not to mention I met my husband in that same Starbuck’s café!

I was also the barista that went from only ordering a Strawberries & Cream Frap to ordering straight up shots of espresso - to the shock and surprise of my coworkers. “Samantha, when did this happen?”

Truth is, not over night. I went from sugary fraps to flavored lattes to dry cappuccinos to espresso shots, black.

Unfortunately, I still loved the peanut butter and trail mix cookies. So I also know how fast the Starbucks menu can derail your healthy eating plans.  "Cookie or no cookie? To whip cream or not to whip cream?" taunted me while I was trying to be healthy but failing miserably.

Did I mention I put on 23 pounds from the time I graduated high school (and started working at Starbucks) to when I finished University?

Hence, why I wanted to save you the time (and the extra pounds) by providing you with a quick go-to guide for healthy drinking & eating at most cafes - for those days you’re in a rush to work, on a stroller walk with your little, or on a kid-free coffee date with completely uninterrupted conversation (ahhhhh, bliss), this is for you!


Safe Staples:

·      Tea, unsweetened

·      Coffee, black (or with a splash of milk if you must)

·      Coconut Milk lattes (skip the dairy and indulge in some creamy coconut milk)

·      Unsweetened iced teas

·      Americanos (black, with a splash of coconut or coffee cream if you must)

·      Espresso, black

·      Iced Coffee (without the classic syrup)


Mini Indulgences:

·      Skip the artificial sugar-free syrups (those are even worse than the real stuff!) and order something half sweet instead.

·      Order something full sweet but skip the whip cream.

·      Order something unsweetened but ask for whip cream!

·      Order an iced tea without the added syrup but with the lemonade, or vice versa. If I want a treat in the summer I’ll order an iced, half-sweet green tea. Or better yet bring my own Stevia drops to sweeten it!


Your Best Choices to Eat (available at Starbucks):

·      Kale salad or anything else with veggies!

·      Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups

·      Kind Bar

·      AKA mostly nothing from the pastry case is a good option! This used to be absolute weakness when I worked at Starbucks and I not only loved pastries but got a sweet discount. After years of eating whole foods and less sugar, I don’t know how I used to fall for that stuff.

Most all pastry items are high in calories, fat, sugar, gluten, and dairy. Over time, though, they started to taste overly sweetened and artificial to me as my taste buds changed. Same goes for the sugar drinks. I used to love drinks full sweet, now I can’t imagine drinking them with that much sugar.

So I say this to tell you, be patient. As your choices change so will your taste buds and it will become progressively easier to make healthy choices even in the midst of pastry delights and caramel drizzle with whip cream treats.