1. Blueberry Protein Smoothie
Many of Starbucks’ smoothies include sugar-filled sauces, juices and purees that won’t do your waistline or health any favors. So instead of ordering one of the smoothies the coffee chain has concocted, grab a pack or two of blueberries from the refrigerator case, hand it to your barista and request a custom drink to be made by blending the fruit with whey protein, ice and either water or milk. The combination of natural sugar and protein in this drink is an ideal post-workout pick-me-up, and it’s an easy alternative when you can’t get to your go-to smoothie from a dedicated juice shop.
2. Matcha Tea
Starbucks always manages to take something healthy and transform it into a calorie- and sugar-filled diet bomb. And that’s exactly what they did with their drinks that contain matcha, a concentrated Japanese green-tea powder that’s currently taking the healthy food scene by storm. Instead of offering traditional matcha tea, which is made by mixing water with matcha powder, Starbucks incorporated the superfood into their waist-widening Frapps and lattes. The good news is, you can get your hands on matcha tea the way it was intended to be sipped. Just tell the barista you’d like “unsweetened matcha tea powder mixed with hot water.”
3. Espresso-Banana Protein Smoothie
After a tough workout feeling tired and depleted is to be expected. Luckily, there’s an easy way to refuel your depleted glycogen stores, rebuild the muscle you’ve broken down and give yourself a burst of energy: sip an Espresso-Banana Protein Smoothie. It’s not on the menu, though, so you’ll have to tell the barista what ingredients go into the mix. It’s simply whey protein, a banana, a shot of espresso, ice and water. It’s simple but delicious.
4. Short-Sized Cups
In its early days, Starbucks served just two sizes: an 8-ounce short and a 12-ounce tall. Over time, however, the 16-ounce grande, 20-ounce venti and 31-ounce trenta each made their debut. To keep the menu board clean and concise, the trenta and short got the axe—but the unlisted cups are still available in every Starbucks location. Opting for an 8-ounce Caffè Mocha over a grande (arguably the most popular size) saves you 160 waist-widening calories, 6 grams of artery-clogging fat and 17 grams of sugar.
5. Cinnamon & Banana Oatmeal
Currently Starbucks offers two types of oatmeal: the Classic Whole-Grain variety (which comes with dried fruit, a nut medley and brown sugar as optional toppings) and the Hearty Blueberry Whole-Grain (which comes with with blueberries and agave syrup). But you can also ask for the oatmeal sans toppings and customize it yourself with a banana (sold separately at the register) and cinnamon from the milk and sugar station. The two add-ins are not only delicious, but also serve up a host of health benefits; bananas are rich in potassium, a mineral that keeps bloating at bay by excreting sodium, and cinnamon keeps blood sugar steady, aiding appetite control.