Are you pinning for that decadent Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate? The one with an extra pump of decadent toffee nut syrup? If you are considering giving in to the temptation and throwing your low carb efforts out the window, don’t do it! There is still a way to enjoy your morning coffee run without worrying about flushing your diet down the drain. Most restaurants and coffee bars have jumped on board the low carb diet train and are now offering keto-friendly options, with Starbucks leading the pack. If you are tired of the same old black bulletproof coffee then treat yourself to some of these decadent keto-friendly Starbucks beverages.
What To Know Before You Order
Starbucks has taken the art of coffee and hot drinks to a height that most other baristas fail to reach. Their beverages hit the nail on the head, the flavor, the cream, the toppings, it’s just got the right balance of everything. Unfortunately, the reality is that most of these beloved lattes and frappuccinos are loaded with simple sugar syrups, which can add up to 68 grams of carbohydrates per serving depending on the size and flavor of the beverage. That is almost double the carb limit on a keto diet.
Luckily, Starbucks has made it easier for anyone to order thanks to its classic and unsweetened syrup options. Classic is the sweetened option so it’s best to say no to the classic when the barista is taking your order. However, it is also important to note that the sugar-free syrups contain artificial sweeteners such as sucralose that may wreak havoc on your gut. While these are a great way to sweeten your drinks without worrying too much about the carb count, they may not be the healthiest option. Research suggests that sucralose can generate a potentially toxic compound called chloropropanols when cooked or boiled at high temperatures. There have been some reports that sucralose also contributes to joint and muscle pain. If you are suffering from leg cramps caused by the keto flu, it’s best to avoid the syrups all together.
Other than the syrups and artificial sweeteners, here are a few more things to avoid when placing your low carb Starbucks order:
Avoid The Whipped Cream
The white swirls can take an ordinary cup of coffee to wow, but like most things, whipped cream comes with a few extra carbs thanks to the added sugar. Some brands make their whipped cream from vanilla syrup, which unfortunately doesn’t do the keto diet any justice either.
Ditch The Milk
The milk used in most beverages at Starbucks is 2% milk. Once again, sugar is guilty of pushing the carb count of 2% milk to roughly 12 grams. Some beverages like the skinny latte are topped off with nonfat milk, which may contain fewer calories but racks up a hefty carb count of up to 19 grams. That doesn’t sound very “skinny” at all. Starbucks also offers nondairy substitutes such as coconut, soy, and almond milk, however, these alternatives also contain between 11 to 18 grams of carbs. Ditch the milk and rather ask the barista for heavy cream. Heavy cream does not contain carbs and is great for increasing your fat intake.
Avoid Pre Made Mixes
The pre-packed concentrates and powders come standard with sugar and should be avoided at all costs. Some prepacked Starbucks beverages that are not keto-approved include:
- Matcha powder mix
- Green tea latte
- Chai tea mix
- Sweetened iced coffee mix
- Peppermint mocha latte mix
- Cool lime refresher
- Very berry hibiscus refresher
Keto Approved Starbucks Options
Now that you know what to order, it is time to get to the good stuff… the very thing Starbucks is famous for, it’s heavenly brews!
This is an easy-going fuss-free drink that will give you a boost of energy thanks to the 225 mg of caffeine. A Grande (16 fl oz) is made with 3 shots of brewed espresso and water, which totals to 2 grams of net carbs per serving. If you are still within your carb limit for the day, you could add a sugar-free syrup, which will add on 1 gram of carbs per two pumps or sweeten it with stevia. Some branches have stevia packets available at the preparation bar.
The Misto is a one to one blend of brewed coffee and steamed milk and tastes similar to a traditional latte. This is the best option for those who prefer a milder taste to espresso. A Grande Misto with steamed whole milk contains 10 grams of carbohydrates, which all come from sugar. To make this the perfect low carb Starbucks Misto, as the barista to replace the milk with heavy cream. This will bring the carb count down to a total of 6 grams.
If you are only interested in the caffeine and not too phased with extra toppings, creams, or flavors, then an espresso shot is the perfect low carb option. One shot of espresso only contains 1 gram of net carbs and a refreshing 75 mg of caffeine. If you are tempted to sweeten the brew, add some stevia or a sprinkle of spice at the preparation bar.
Forget the unhealthy premixed tea lattes and make your own low carb version of the creamy drink. Ask the barista to make you a cup of half hot water, half heavy cream. You can get creative by adding a tea bag of your choice. The best options are usually chai tea bags with a pinch of cinnamon, earl grey and stevia or breakfast tea and a dash of sugar-free vanilla syrup.
Caramel Cloud Macchiato
A traditional Starbucks caramel macchiato is made with 2 shots of espresso, steamed milk, 2 pumps of classic vanilla syrup, and caramel drizzle. A Grande provides 44 grams of carbs in total, not a keto option at all. Instead, the barista for an Americano with one part heavy cream and three parts boiling water with a pump of sugar-free vanilla. If you haven’t reached your carb count for the day, you can opt for the caramel drizzle, which provides 2 extra grams of net carbs.
Other Starbucks Keto Favorites
- No classic iced coffee sweetened with stevia
- No classic tea on ice sweetened with stevia
- Make a faux keto Starbucks pink drink by adding heavy cream and one pump of sugar-free vanilla syrup to a no classic iced passion tango herbal tea.
Keeping It Keto At Starbucks
The best thing about Starbucks is that their menu can be personalized to suit your diet and taste preferences. You can mix and match just about any ingredient in the store to customize your own low carb treat. Always opt for heavy cream, ditch the syrups and always say no classic to bring down the carb count. If you are really stumped about what to order, there are thousands of social media posts and pages dedicated to keto-friendly Starbucks drinks. You don’t have to give up your coffee fix or miss out on catching up with your friends at the local Starbucks joint any more!