Trim Healthy Mama at Starbucks

What’s on plan a la Trim Healthy Mama at Starbucks? Does being on Trim Healthy Mama mean you can’t enjoy your favorite Starbucks beverage? Maybe. Read on…

18 years ago, I was an employee of Starbucks, so I know a thing or two about their drinks. If you love plain old, ordinary drip coffee, you’re in luck. Drip coffee has less than 5 calories. If you drink it black, you’re golden. If you like cream, you’re in S mode (whether you use half and half or heavy cream). Drip coffee drinkers have it easy on THM.

Where it gets complicated with Trim Healthy Mama at Starbucks?  For those who love the fancy espresso-based drinks.

First let me explain a bit about the differences between various espresso-based drinks.

  • A latte has a little espresso and a lot of steamed and foamed milk.
  • A cappuccino has a little espresso and a lot of foamed milk. This is why the cup feels so light in your hand – it’s mostly air!
  • A flat white is inbetween – it has more milk than cappuccino, less than a latte.
  • A macchiato has a little espresso and a lot of steamed milk with a dash of foamed milk – macchiato is Italian for “marked”, so the drink is “marked” with a bit of foam. If you order espresso macchiato at Starbucks, you get a shot of espresso marked with a little steamed/foamed milk on top. It’s a very small drink.
  • An Americano is a little espresso with hot water added – similar to a brewed coffee.

All of the above drinks CAN be on plan if ordered black or with half-and-half or heavy cream. Unfortunately, the coconut milk AND the almond milk at Starbucks contain sugar!

Trim Healthy Mama at Starbucks

Trim Healthy Mama at Starbucks

A mocha is basically a latte with chocolate syrup added. A caramel macchiato is also basically a latte with caramel and vanilla added. Both of those you need to avoid on THM, as they have a ton of sugar.

Whole milk is a Crossover, and all the espresso-based drinks are made with whole milk unless you ask. So if you ask for a tall latte, for instance, you’re getting a whole lot of whole milk. Keep that in mind if you’re still in weight loss mode. In maintenance, this would be okay occasionally.

Keeping in mind the definitions above, a cappuccino would have less milk than a latte, so might be a safer choice if you’re still losing weight.

Frappuccinos would also be off plan due to their high sugar content, as would all the sweet fancy drinks: Pumpkin Spice Latte, White Mocha, Mocha, Caramel Macchiato, etc.

Starbucks lovers who are on THM were excited to hear about them offering a stevia-based sweetener, but alas, it contains fructose and is therefore not on plan. My advice?

Keep your stevia in your purse! I carry a few packets of an on-plan stevia sweetener with me all the time.

Your best bet to stay on plan with Trim Healthy Mama at Starbucks is to order one of the following:

  • Regular drip coffee or Americano, either black or with half and half or heavy whipping cream. (They don’t keep heavy cream at the condiment bar, you’ll have to ask for it.)
  • Iced coffee and iced Americano are also safe (just not the “shaken” ones, those have sweetener added). Add half and half or heavy cream for an S. If you use just a little half and half, you can stay in E parameters. 2 tablespoons of half and half contain 3.5 grams fat, so pour carefully.
  • Most of the brewed Teavana teas are THM-safe. The English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Jade Citrus Mint green tea, and Mint Majesty are all safe because they’re 100% tea leaves. The Passion, Youthberry and Peach, however, contain a small amount of sugar, but probably not enough to make any difference. The shaken iced teas all contain sugar, so avoid those. The Oprah Chai tea has small bits of apple, but it’s sugar count is still 0 grams, so it’s safe. The Oprah Cinnamon Chai has no fruit pieces.
  • If you love black tea, you could also order a Tea Latte – this is a drink made from brewed, hot black tea with steamed milk. With whole milk it’s a crossover, with half and half, it’s an S fuel.
  • A latte or cappuccino made with half and half. This is called ‘breve’, so you would order a Breve Latte or a Breve Cappuccino, depending. Since a cappuccino has less milk, it has fewer calories.
  • Keep in mind that any drink ordered breve will have a TON of fat and calories! You might want to make your next meal a Fuel Pull to compensate for that.
  • The sugar-free flavor syrups at Starbucks are not on plan. They contain maltodextrin AND sucralose (splenda) – yuck! Carry your own flavored stevia and use those instead. SweetLeaf makes a ton of flavors (including chocolate, caramel, vanilla and coconut) that you might like in your coffee.
  • Flavor your coffee yourself with regular old spices instead of syrups. Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla are sugar free and on plan! You can easily carry a tiny little container of these in your purse, and they’re available also at the condiment bar at Starbucks (although the vanilla and chocolate have sugar).
  • Another option to stay on plan is to mix up all the ingredients for a Trimmy in your own travel mug, then when you get to Starbucks, order a coffee and pour that in. You could even mix up a Hot Chocolate Trimmy, leaving out the water, and ask for a cup of hot water at Starbucks.
  • Or, bring your own mug with almond milk (and stevia, or whatever else you like) added, and ask them to put hot coffee on top of it! This way you can stay in E fuel easily. Also, Starbucks gives you a .10 discount when you use your own mug.
  • Almost all of the food and snacks at Starbucks are off plan. If you find yourself starving at a Starbucks, order a Sausage, Egg and Cheese breakfast sandwich and ditch the bread for an “S” fuel. They also have packets of plain almonds and cashews. The snacks differ from location to location, so check out what your local store offers. Most of the beef jerky snacks I’ve seen also contain sugar.

What do you order that’s safe for Trim Healthy Mama at Starbucks?

p.s. If you love the mouth feel and flavor of steamed milk, why not buy a milk frothing pitcher or a foaming wand and make your own mock Starbucks coffees at home? I have this foaming wand and use it every day to make cappuccino or Trimmy drinks. I first warm the milk to the desired temperature, then I use the wand to make a beautiful head of foam on it. So delicious, and so much cheaper. I even prefer the flavor of my coffees made at home. 🙂


If you’re having a hard time staying on plan a la Trim Healthy Mama at Starbucks, be sure to check out the follow-up to this post, THM-Safe Starbucks Copycat Recipes!

If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to my weekly newsletter. You’ll get exclusive content and gain instant access to a FREE TrimHealthyMama-safe ALDI meal plan!

Announcing: The Temporary Tightwad

While this topic isn’t exactly about Trim Healthy Mama, many of us are interested in frugality and managing our money well, so I couldn’t not mention this deal!

My newest book, The Temporary Tightwad: Radically reduce your spending, meet a money goal and change your life forever, is now available in Amazon, and for a VERY short time (just a day or two!), it’s only .99!

The book is for anyone who wants to create change in their finances by taking massive (but temporary and doable) action. It recounts my own stories of mistakes I made with money and how I righted them. It shares hundreds of ways to lower expenses and save money, as well as earn more money without a dramatic lifestyle change.

It also contains free printable worksheets to help you get clear on your financial goal and to help you stay motivated (sometimes the hardest part!). Go here to download a free sample or buy the book – I mean really, at .99 this is a no-brainer folks. 

If you aren’t interested in this topic, I’m certain you know someone who needs this book. Why not mention it to them? Thanks so much!

Get a FREE $30 Mrs. Meyer’s Cleaning Kit

This post is a bit off-topic, but if you a) like to save money and b) ever clean your house, you’ll be interested. And I’m thinking that’s pretty much all of us, right?

I buy my cleaning products from Grove. I enjoy free shipping, and their prices on non-toxic cleaning products and other health and beauty items beat Amazon Prime.

Ordering from Grove *keeps me out of the store*, which is a frugal, time (and sanity) saving choice.

Mrs. Meyer's Grove Special Offer

A couple of times a year, Grove extends a pretty fantastic offer on their best-selling cleaning products.  This month they have a Mrs. Meyer’s seasonal scents kit and it’s a real steal!

New Customers Can Get:

  • Free Mrs. Meyer’s fall seasonal hand soap
  • Free Mrs. Meyer’s fall seasonal dish soap
  • Free Mrs. Meyer’s fall seasonal multi-surface spray
  • Free Grove Collaborative kitchen towel (I love these – they’re thick, thirsty, and only get better with age.)
  • Free 60 Day VIP trial
  • Free shipping
    This kit is valued at over $30, making it a real no-brainer in my book. And did I mention this kit is FREE?

Use this link if you’re a new customer.

They haven’t left existing customers in the dust, either. This is one of the things I like about this company. They’re always rewarding loyal customers. My last order contained a free shaving gel, just for kicks and giggles.

All existing customers will receive the kit for 50% off. Use this link if you’re an existing customer.

(The offer is good until Sunday and is limited in quantity, so don’t dilly-dally.)

I got my kit last week in the Mum scent. It is a lovely scent and makes my kitchen smell very boutique, but it’s strong, so if you’re super-sensitive to scents, keep that in mind. (I am diluting the spray and the soap 50% with water.)

Note: Grove currently does not ship to Canada, Hawaii, or Alaska

What do I buy from Grove? My last couple of orders contained:

  • Dr. Bronner’s castille soap in bulk (for refilling foam hand soap dispensers, I mix a teaspoon in a spray bottle with water for use as an all-purpose cleaner)
  • Earthpaste toothpaste
  • Tom’s of Maine deodorant for everyone over the age of 12
  • Essential oils
  • Oxygen bleach for laundry
  • Probiotics
  • Epsom salts

Go get your free kit here ~ Use click here if you’re a new customer.

OliveNation coupon code and save on all things pumpkin!

I got my OliveNation order today. Here’s what I got:

olive nation coupon code

  • caramel extract (for Salted Caramel Oolong tea, one of my favorites)
  • butter extract (for my oatmeal, to keep it in E mode, and for Shake Gone Nuts)
  • banana extract (for banana nut muffins and Bust a Myth banana cake)
  • strawberry extract (to make oatmeal even yummier, as well as any strawberry shake)

Until the end of business today, OliveNation is offering a 20% discount on all things pumpkin! Get some pumpkin spice extract to make THM-friendly muffins and cakes.

Use code PUMP20 at checkout.

And to get you started with recipes, try this list from Artful Homemaking: 66 Trim Healthy Mama Pumpkin Recipes

Here is a FREE SHIPPING code: 152016

Enter it at checkout (expires in 30 days).


Budget TrimHealthyMama: how to save money on groceries

Since my family is currently saving money for a down payment on our first home, we’ve been looking at ways to slash our spending. One of the goals I’ve had for this season is to trim down my grocery budget. So I’m going to share a few ways we eat TrimHealthyMama on a budget.

Commonly, someone posts to the TrimHealthyMama Facebook page sounding like this:

“I just started TrimHealthyMama and I’m losing weight, but my grocery budget has gone through the roof! I can’t afford this!”

If you haven’t figured it out yet, one of my goals here at La Slim Femme is to help people do THM their way. TrimHealthyMama for the EveryWoman, if you will.

That means you can do TrimHealthyMama even if you hate cooking or don’t have time.

Budget Trim Healthy Mama

It also means you can do TrimHealthyMama without blowing your food budget. [Tweet “you can do #TrimHealthyMama without blowing your food budget”] If you’re like me and have a lot of mouths to feed, please read on. Even if your family is smaller (or it’s just you!) but you wish to economize at the grocery store, read on. Here are a few principles that will help.

budget trimhealthymama

Meal plan

Never go to the grocery store without a list, and take a few moments to plan your next several meals (or a week or month’s worth if you prefer) before stepping foot in the store. It’s much easier to avoid impulse buying if you shop from a list based on a solid meal plan. According to some experts, impulse buys make up more than half of our total spending. Yikes! Put blinders on in the store.

The exception would be if you happen to see some really amazing deals you just can’t pass up. But only buy as much as you need until the next sale, or freeze it to preserve it, otherwise the food might go to waste.

Before you make a menu, take a look at the store flyers in your area before shopping (you can find these online) and base your menu on things that are on sale. Stock up on chicken when it’s .69 a pound, eggs when they’re .69 a dozen, meat when it’s 1.99 a pound. If you need help knowing when something is a deal, download this free “stock-up price” guide from

Build your menu around inexpensive foods

After checking store sales and making your meal plan/shopping list, don’t overlook those E fuels! Oatmeal with cottage cheese or 0% Greek yogurt is a wonderfully frugal E breakfast that will typically cost less than eggs and bacon. Non-starchy vegetables almost always cost less than meats and veggies, so the advice from the authors of the THM plan book to fill up your plate with those is fiscally sound as well as nutritionally wise.

S meals tend to cost more due to their fattier ingredients. We THM types love our S meals and snacks, especially those that come from a low-carb or paleo diet background. But remember that THM is NOT a low-carb diet. E fuels are essential to metabolic health and good mood. Eating at least one E meal or snack each day can help keep grocery spending down.

Eliminate convenience foods

If you don’t have time or hate to cook, then feel free to ignore this tip. But if saving money is a bigger priority to you, eliminate convenience foods. While I love frozen seasoning blend for its ease of use, it costs more than simply chopping my own celery/onion/bell pepper trinity. Buying salad mixes is super easy, but washing and tearing my own romaine lettuce saves money. Making homemade chicken broth from bones you’ve saved is essentially free nutrition.

Other examples:

  • Dried beans are cheaper than canned. To save time, cook a lot of beans at once in the slow cooker, divide into meal-size portions and freeze. You can also soak your beans and freeze them before cooking to cut down on the cooking time.
  • Blocks of cheese are typically cheaper than pre-shredded. Shredded cheeses also have additives you might want to avoid. To save time, shred your cheese using your food processor instead of by hand.
  • Buy large hunks of meat (if it’s a better deal per pound) and cut it yourself, or ask the butcher to do so at the store, they’ll do so for free, instead of buying stew beef or sliced beef.
  • Cook chicken and beef and slice it thinly to make your own lunch meats instead of buying deli meat. You’ll avoid unhealthy ingredients too.
  • Make your own Greek yogurt! You can even make it in the slow cooker.

Go Team NSI

NSI is THM-speak for No Special Ingredients. Some TrimHealthyMamas, for budget reasons or personal preference, prefer not to use any ingredients not ordinarily found in a grocery store. So out go the glucomannan, whey protein powder, collagen, and some even eschew stevia.

None of these items are required on THM for weight loss. They’re nice to have, but if your budget is tight, you can skip them. Cottage cheese is an excellent substitute for whey protein powder in shakes, and it’s a Fuel Pull if it’s the low-fat variety.

Find the cheapest acceptable version

For example, the Pure Stevia Powder is a better value than the other stevia-based sweeteners offered by THM. (They offer the other sweeteners as an alternative for those who are transitioning to stevia and want a taste more similar to sugar.)

As a general rule, I’ve found that the THM products are priced lower than others of similar quality. Even with the added shipping costs, THM baking blend, sweeteners, whey protein powder and other items are a better deal than comparable items on Amazon Prime.

Use cash-back apps

One of the easiest ways to find coupons for groceries (as well as personal care items and other products) is by using cash back apps such as ibotta, Mobisave, SavingStar, ShopKick and Checkout51. They’re simple to use. I click on each app before I shop to see what coupons are being offered. Sometimes you can combine cash back rebates with store sales to get products for free (I’ve done this recently with shampoo and toothpaste). eBates can be useful if you shop online. It offers a percentage off certain retailers as well, and the savings are added to your account and cashed out via Paypal. SwagBucks gives you points redeemable for gift cards. If you use the browser toolbar for searching and shopping online, you can earn passively. (I usually let my SwagBucks accrue through the year and redeem my points for Amazon gift cards for back-to-homeschool shopping.)

Eating seasonally is (usually) cheaper

It’s the middle of summer, and right now berries are dirt cheap. Fresh berries are even cheaper than frozen right now. As a result, I’ve been eating tons of them. Mangoes too. I refuse to buy watermelon except in summer because it’s overpriced. We’re also eating a lot of salad since romaine is so inexpensive at the moment. (Boy choy? Not so much. It was over $5 last time I bought it. Ouch!)

Most of the time, eating seasonal produce saves you money. In the fall and winter, enjoy those pumpkins, squashes, turnips and collard greens.

Choose inexpensive recipes from the THM cookbook

A few of our favorite budget meals:

  • Egg Roll in a Bowl – cabbage is the main ingredient here, and it’s often .49 a pound. I eat my EGiaB with brown rice, making it an inexpensive, tasty one-pot meal
  • Sweet Potato Oat Soup – I never would have dreamed that a soup calling for oats and sweet potatoes would become a family favorite, but it has! If you use homemade broth in this recipe, you could make a meal for a large family for just a dollar or two.
  • Sweeties on Steroids – I make mine with cottage cheese, stirring it in so it melts and becomes creamy. This has become a favorite recipe of mine as it’s so adaptable and inexpensive.
  • Dirt-E Rice – easy, delicious and a filling meal for a family for less than $5
  • Chana Dal soup –  ALDI occasionally stocks red lentils. When they do, I buy a bag and make this recipe. Yum!
  • Waldorf salad – wonderful for lunch on a hot summer day
  • Cottage Berry Whip – right now with berries on sale so cheap, this costs pennies per serving
  • Bean Boss Soup – a black bean soup (and really, most of the soup recipes are quite inexpensive)

How do you spend less on groceries while doing THM?

TrimHealthyMama & Potatoes: On or off plan?

I’ve been working on spending as little at the grocery store as possible. (If you read my other blog, you know that my husband and I have launched a “fiscal freeze” for several months while we save the down payment for our first home. You can read the series of posts at No Spend Summer.)

My kids love white potatoes, and I used to eat them often.

I’ve loved using cauliflower – steamed, mashed, as a substitute for white potatoes. I love cauliflower anyway, and once I started eating a la TrimHealthyMama, I was happy to find new ways to eat them.

The only person who complained about this change in our diet was my teenage daughter, who loves mashed potatoes. Last week, my 10-year-old also started asking for potatoes. One of her favorite things to make for lunch is potato soup, and it’s a favorite family comfort food going back generations. I bought her a bag. I didn’t want the rest of the bag to spoil, so we had baked potatoes the other night for dinner. I ate an entire potato, skin and all, topped with grass-fed ground beef and a cheese sauce (THM friendly), along with lettuce and tomato. It was so delicious and everyone loved it.


Potatoes are SO cheap, and anyone who talks about frugal eating brings up the humble spud as an example of how to eat a nutritious diet for less.

Maybe it’s the Irish in me, but I do love a good white potato. I also love red-skinned potatoes, creamy waxy potatoes, Yukon Golds… and of course our mainstay, sweet potatoes. Looking back at my THM food journals, I have been eating a few French fries once a week (only a few – literally 5 or 6, since starting THM I have so much more self-control when it comes to food).

But I wondered if perhaps this was my body’s way of asking for potatoes?

TrimHealthyMama and Potatoes

Now that I’m at Maintenance weight (122, and I don’t want to lose one more pound!), I wondered if it would be ok to sneak back in a potato or two. As it turns out, potatoes aren’t totally off plan once you hit maintenance weight. Both the old plan book and the new one mention this, though the info is somewhat buried.

I posted to a couple of THM (unofficial) Facebook groups and asked how many thought white potatoes were ok in moderation? I got a few dozen positive responses. Most of the ladies said they ate white potatoes on occasion with no problems.

White potatoes may lead to blood sugar imbalances in some, but for me they don’t. (Again – I’m part Irish, maybe potatoes are in my blood!) Other carbs DO trigger my blood sugar imbalances, but not potatoes. The authors of THM talk about how the right kinds of carbohydrates (from oats, sweet potatoes, fruit, brown rice) are needed for good mood and thyroid health.

I can certainly vouch for this. Anytime I tried a low-carb diet, I would lose weight, but my energy level and motivation would tank and I would find it difficult to get off the couch. This is why carb-fueled meals are referred to as “E” in THM-speak. E is for Energizing.

Years ago I read the book Potatoes, Not Prozac. In it, the author, who has a Ph.D in addictive nutrition, claims that potatoes increase the level of feel-good hormones in the brain as well as reduce cravings for foods that cause blood sugar problems. At 41, since I’m suffering some perimenopausal symptoms (which thankfully are mitigated by my diet!), I could use all the feel-good hormones I can get! The book also claims that eating a potato before bed can increase levels of tryptophan and help you sleep better as well.

Potatoes, the way most people eat them (slathered in butter, fried or topped with cheese or sour cream), are a crossover. Perhaps this is why they sometimes lead to weight gain. I am not going to say that eating French fries is good for anyone’s health, but I find it interesting that French women, known for their svelte figures and high-quality diet, eat frites (fries) with their steak! The French also brought us humble-yet-haute-cuisine dishes such as creamy gratin dauphinois, Tartiflette, and leek-potato soup.

This article about the history of the potato claims that without it, entire civilizations may not have survived and thrived. The potato contains nearly every nutrient the human body needs, as well as lots of fiber. The potato helped the Irish climb out of poverty, saved children’s lives due to malnutrition, and kept people out of starvation.

Henceforth, I will eat a white potato weekly. 🙂 

How do you TrimHealthyMamas feel about potatoes? 

p.s. In order to keep my kitchen cool (no turning on the oven!), I washed the potatoes well and placed them, unwrapped, in the slow cooker. I cooked them on high for about 4 hours. They were perfect. They will darken a bit, but that’s no problem.

TrimHealthyMama Saving Money Tip: Cash Back Apps

Those of us who follow the TrimHealthyMama© plan may find that our grocery spending goes up. Sad to say, it really can be true that healthy, whole foods cost more than junk. Here’s a money saving tip that might help.

<strong>Saving money on TrimHealthyMama: use cash-back phone apps</strong>
Saving money on TrimHealthyMama: use cash-back phone apps

Some clever folks have found that by combining stores sales with coupons, they can make a significant dent in their grocery budget.  One of the easiest ways to find coupons without collecting papers and cutting them out is by using cash back apps such as ibotta and Checkout51.

I have both of these apps on my phone and use them every week to get literal cash back from purchases. For instance, a couple of days ago I got two bottles of shampoo free. They were on sale at the grocery, and Checkout51 had a $3 off coupon, which made the purchase free. All I had to do was click on the coupon, then take a picture of my receipt. Checkout51 added $3 to my account. That same day I also saved $3 on a box of diapers I bought, thanks to ibotta.

I just checked my apps and I have $17.50 from Checkout51 and $23.00 from ibotta waiting for me to transfer to my PayPal account, and I use these applications very part-time – once or twice a week, but the savings adds up.

I’ve gotten cash back bonuses on produce as well. Right now, taking a quick look at both apps, I see several items of interest to TrimHealthyMamas in the Checkout51 app:

  • .75 cash back on cheese
  • 1.00 cash back on brown rice
  • .75 cash back on sausage
  • 1.00 cash back on deli ham and turkey
  • .75 cash back on canned fruit
  • many other personal care and household products

With Checkout51, you can use the cash back savings at any store. Ibotta is a bit different in that the savings is organized by store. ibotta uses GPS to track where you’re at, so it pings your phone with coupons if you’re near a store. Pretty cool feature, because otherwise I may forget to use it!

Taking a quick look at ibotta’s offerings today, I see a lot of things TrimHealthyMamas might buy:

  • from Walmart: savings on tuna and salmon packets, cottage cheese (!!), butter, cheese and many others
  • deals from Publix, Kroger, and several other grocery stores (even Sprouts and Whole Foods)
  • tons of savings on makeup, personal care, pet food, household and baby stuff too
  • savings from stores such as DollarTree, Sally Beauty Supply and online retailers.

Right now, ibotta ($10) and Checkout51 ($5) are offering cash bonuses just for using the app. Give them a try and see how this helps you by saving money on TrimHealthyMama.

[Note: when you download and use these apps, you will get a cash back bonus and so will I for referring you. Thanks for helping me out!]

Olive Nation Coupon

As I’ve mentioned before, OliveNation is where I get my TrimHealthyMama-friendly extracts and flavors. These make it possible to add a ton of flavor with no calories! Many of the Frappa recipes, muffins and breads and treats contain flavor extracts, and you can experiment and make your own as well.

From time to time OliveNation offers a coupon code. I’ll share them here so you can benefit. Their prices are already excellent (I find they beat Amazon), and they offer organic extracts as well.

The latest OliveNation coupon code:


This code is good for all of their merchandise. It ends June 15th, and the minimum order is $25. They also have free samples with orders over $35, and always offer free shipping on orders over $50.

My favorite extracts from OliveNation:

  • vanilla (for iced coffee, all the Frappa recipes, muffins, so much more)
  • caramel (with iced coffee or Salted Caramel Oolong tea, or for candies)
  • orange (Orange Dreamsicle shake!)
  • raspberry (raspberry muffins, raspberry shakes)
  • strawberry (for Strawberry Cheesecake shakes and Secret Shakes)
  • key lime (for the Key Lime shake and Key Lime pie THM recipes)