I’m not brand loyal with my coffee. I mostly drink Starbucks when I’m out simply because I’m doing work on their free wi-fi. When I’m at home, it’s Bulletproof or a local roast.
One thing that I notice when I’m there, though, is the underlying theme that Starbucks is healthy. Do you think it is? Let’s take a look…
Are there any healthy Starbucks beverage options?
Coffee is inherently healthy. Nothing I’ve seen in the research has led me to believe otherwise. The problem is that most of the Starbucks beverage options are sugar bombs.
The new “Freshers” line are anywhere from 13 to 20 grams of sugar in 16 ounces. The cold teas are all about equal to drinking soda. If you’re thinking Frappuccino, you might as well hit up Chick-Fil-A for a milkshake.
Yeah, a lot of stuff can be ordered sugar free, but then it’s full of chemicals. It’s unfortunate that Starbucks hasn’t switched to better non-sugar sweeteners like stevia.
The hot milk based beverages are made with crap quality pasteurized dairy. Most of the blended espresso beverages are also sugar bombs. Finding something acceptable is rough.
- Brewed coffee – black or w/ heavy whipping cream
- Americano – black or w/ heavy whipping cream
- Brewed tea, unsweetened.
- Tip: Bring your own stevia packets if you need something sweetened.
Are there any healthy Starbucks food options?
You can cross out their entire bakery section right off the bat. Everything in that section is a different iteration on blended wheat and sugar.
I’m intrigued to hear about their “Bistro Boxes,” though. Cheese and Fruit? Hmm.
This actually isn’t a bad snack if you can tolerate dairy. You’ve gotta ditch the nine grain crackers. You can decrease the sugar load by ditching the dried cranberries. Not bad.
Hummus and grilled chicken? Interesting. These must be new.
I’m actually not that concerned with excluding hummus from my diet. Yeah, beans are an ANTI food for some people, but I tolerate them well. Still, I don’t eat them often. Know that the hummus has canola oil in it (ugh — shame on you Starbucks).
Chicken is one of the more inflammatory meats. It’s very lopsided toward omega 6 over omega 3. Because of that, I tend to skew toward other types of meats. I’m not surprised to see Starbucks including it though: it’s cheap and the “boneless, skinless chicken breast” fits their mainstream approach to nutrition. This will do in a pinch if you ditch the pita strips (why can’t I order anything without a side of gut destroying wheat?).
It’s funny that the “protein” box has more carbohydrates than protein. Semantics, I guess.
The protein box is a great option if you ditch the honey peanut butter and multi-grain bread. Did you know the raisins have vegetable oil in them? Yeah, wtf. Ditch those too.
The Evolution Harvest bars are all off the list. More sugar, more wheat.
The breakfast options are all sandwiches, so that disqualifies them. You could request to leave off the bread, but if you’re sensitive to gluten or are trying to stay as clean as possible, just know it’ll be contaminated.
The one breakfast item that isn’t bread is whole-grain oatmeal. It would be a great option by conventional standards. Alas, it’s just another gluten and sugar bomb. Oats are almost always cross-contaminated unless you buy them specifically gluten free.
Surely we can find something healthy in the yogurt section? Nope. More sugar bombs. And all of the greek yogurts (which would be good options if they were REAL), are made with non-fact milk. Listen very carefully: REAL yogurt has fat.
There’s a couple options for you to grab if Starbucks is your only option for food, but I wouldn’t make it a point to eat there. The coffee is fine unless you try to get fancy.
The bottom line is that Starbuck’s attempt to appear healthy is the same as most mainstream brands and products like Naked juice: a surplus of talk and a deficit of legitimacy. Thanks to Google, their wi-fi is nice and healthy though.
Kevin Geary is the founder of RebootedBody.com and a respected expert on cravings, eating psychology, and long-term habit change. He’s worked with thousands of men and women in over 35 countries around the world through his online academy and programs like Shut Down Your Sugar Cravings.