Sticking to your diet at Starbucks

Sticking to your diet at Starbucks

Life is a bit crazy – especially around the holidays. If you’ve ever been short on time and have had to quickly drive through the takeout window for a bite to eat or stopped to grab your favorite Venti Caramel Brulee Latte and croissant from Starbucks on the way to work, you’re not alone.

According to Gallup, 47 percent of Americans claim to eat fast food at least once a week. But mindless pit stops can add up on the scale unless you are thoughtful about which menu items you’re choosing. The great thing about many restaurants is they allow you to personalize their menu to meet your diet needs.

So what should you be on the lookout for when picking a menu item?

The first rule of thumb is understanding your daily caloric requirements. These vary depending on a person’s height, gender and activity level, but a good place to start for most women trying to lose weight is about 500 calories per meal and 100 to 200 per snack. For most men trying to lose weight, 600 to 700 calories per meal and 200 to 250 per snack is a good benchmark.

Carrie Ek, a nutritionist and registered dietitian at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., recommends these tips to keep your diet on track at your favorite coffee shop.

  1. Know how many calories are in your food. Look up items before you go to the restaurant so you can make a better choice instead of guessing.
  2. Portion size matters. Instead of a Venti cup of coffee or tea, order a tall. Doing this can cut hundreds of calories out of your meal or snack.
  3. Hold the sweeteners and creams. Many Starbucks drinks are high in calories; some even have the same amount of calories as a milkshake. For those looking to lose weight, Ek encourages starting to use less sweeteners and fats/creams and eventually eliminating them altogether, if possible. Remember–choosing black coffee or tea usually means fewer than five calories.
  4. Eat your fruits and vegetables. The most important improvement you can make in your diet is eating more fruits and vegetables. You should have five servings every day, and fruits and veggies are always a good selection when ordering at a coffee shop or restaurant.

Finally, if you are really struggling with the number on the scale, keep it simple.

“Overall, I would recommend people choose a drink from the menu that is less than 100 calories,” she says. Because in the end, the calories add up, especially if you are making a daily trip.

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About the Author

Marrison Worthington
Marrison Worthington

Marrison Worthington, health enews contributor, is a public affairs and marketing manager at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois. She is a graduate of Illinois State University and has several years of global corporate communications experience under her belt. Marrison loves spending her free time traveling, reading organizational development blogs, trying new cooking recipes, and playing with her golden retriever, Ari.