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.
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!
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