A Smart Starbucks Coffee Break

You’re stuck in the office, eyes glazed like a doughnut, lulled to sleep by the hum of the air conditioning. As you battle fatigue, you drag yourself to the corner Starbucks for a steaming cup of energy. Though you crave the venti (read: supersized) Java Chip Frappuccino, you know you’ve got better options than this 600-calorie drink.

Don't worry, we can't cut out the Starbucks either, but we did scour the nutritional info at Starbucks.com to bring you the best drink choices under 150 calories. Oh, and we wanted to make sure they were still yummy, so we tried 'em all.

But first, a few Starbucks trip guidelines:

  • Always order the tall (that's the little one); aside from consuming empty calories, there's no need to supersize your Starbucks.
  • Ask for nonfat milk—seriously, you can't tell the difference.
  • Hold the whipped cream, unless it's your birthday. Then you're allowed.
  • Make a deal with your coworkers that you will go no more than two times per week.

Rules in mind, here are our hot picks for Starbucks drinks. All calorie counts have been calculated using the tall, nonfat and no-whip options.

Tazo Green Tea Latte
If you really can't resist that 650-calorie Green Tea Frapp, try the latte variation. It's just as good as the Frapp, so you'll still get street-cred for ordering the "in" drink, but it'll only cost you 150 calories.

Espresso Frappuccino Light

If it's coffee meets Slurpie meets milkshake that you have to have, try a Frappuccino Light. The espresso version and several of the coffee versions have under 150 calories. The secret? Frapp Lights use Splenda instead of sugar.

Iced Syrup-Flavored Latte
A regular, old iced skim latte (100 calories)  too boring for you? Us, too. But add a pump of vanilla or hazelnut syrup and you'll be adding lots of flavor but only 20 calories. Or try the sugar-free flavored syrups, which will change your latte's taste without changing its calorie count!

Iced Caffe Mocha
Need a chocolate fix? So do we. An iced mocha is a quick fix and at 150 calories is better than the double-chocolate brownie you’ve been eyeing.

Iced Caffe Americano
Forget about ordering that calorie-packed, complicated drink with the long name. This iced espresso drink is 10 calories and full of caffeine, and you still get the cool Starbucks cup and green straw. Add a little sugar and nonfat milk if you must, but remember that'll up the calories a bit.

Oh, and one last tip: If you must hit up Starbucks more than twice a week, you have our permission to order a venti water. We've seen it happen (really!), and your barista won't laugh at you. Total calories: 0.

Reviewed by: Susan Janoff, MS RD LD/N

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