Healthier Fall Drinks at Starbucks

by | Oct 12, 2022 | Issue 157, Issues | 0 comments

The leaves are starting to fall, the crisp autumn breeze is slowly returning, and Starbucks fall drinks are coming back in season. It's time to welcome the Pumpkin Spice Lattes...

The leaves are starting to fall, the crisp autumn breeze is slowly returning, and Starbucks fall drinks are coming back in season. It’s time to welcome the Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks, pumpkin patch Instagram pictures and plaid-colored scarves! 

Fall drinks are delicious, but perhaps the sugar content or thought of consuming too many calories is a deterring factor from partaking in this fall staple. Well, here’s some good news — there is such a thing as healthy fall Starbuck drinks! 


Healthy Fall Starbucks Drinks

This may sound too good to be true, but here are the best healthy drinks at Starbucks. There are several tips to decrease calorie count but still enjoy the taste of fall!


Pumpkin Spice Latte

One of the essential fall drinks, the one that conjures up images of fuzzy blankets, candles and falling leaves, contains quite a few calories. It’s hard to pass up, though, considering how delicious it is. However, there are great ways to cut some calories and still enjoy this tasty treat. 

One of the best ways to decrease calorie counts when drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes is to order a Short rather than a Grande. Ordering this drink saves 180 calories from the usual 380 calories. Likewise, ordering a Tall Pumpkin Spice Latte instead of a Grande or ordering a Grande with almond milk saves 80 calories

Additionally, ordering a Grande but skipping the whipped cream reduces 70 calories, while ordering a Grande with non-fat milk saves 50 calories, and ordering one with coconut milk saves 40 calories. 

Most of the calories and sugar, however, come from the pumpkin syrup, with one pump adding about 30 calories and 7.5 grams of sugar to the mix. A Grande has four pumps of pumpkin spice syrup, and ordering half the pumps will save 60 calories and 15 grams of sugar

There are countless recipes to make this delicious drink at home, with the same taste but fewer calories. This version of a healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte uses five simple ingredients:

  • Pumpkin Puree;
  • Brewed Coffee; 
  • Milk (of choice);
  • Pumpkin pie spice;
  • Maple Syrup. 

To make the pumpkin spice, simply combine:

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon;
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger;
  • A pinch of ground nutmeg;
  • A pinch of ground cloves or allspice;
  • You’ll only need a 1/4 teaspoon of this mix for the recipe.

There are only three steps to making this drink: 

  • Stir the ingredients together.
  • Warm the ingredients up by bringing the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat.
  • Lastly, garnish your latte with whipped cream and extra pumpkin pie spice!

One of the best things about Starbucks is that everything is customizable! If the drink is from Starbucks, the best ways to make it healthier include ordering it as a tall blonde americano in a grande cup, with one pumpkin sauce, three pumps of sugar-free vanilla and some steamed almond milk. 


Pumpkin Spice Iced Latte

The best way to keep this drink healthy and sweet is to ask for a Grande Iced Coffee with: 

  • No classic syrup; 
  • One pump of pumpkin sauce; 
  • Three pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup; 
  • Some extra pumpkin spice topping, with light creams such as half-and-half. 


Pumpkin Iced Chai Latte

This drink is simple and sweet and only requires: 

  • A Grande Iced Chai Latte; 
  • Almond Milk; 
  • One pump of chai concentrate;
  • 0.5 pump of pumpkin. 


Starbucks Medicine Ball Tea

This drink is terrific for the cold/flu season. Simply ask for: 

  • Honey citrus mint tea; 
  • One packet of honey; 
  • One light lemonade. 

However, sometimes it helps to have this drink on hand, so here is a Starbucks Medicine Ball recipe


Pumpkin Coconut Latte

This treat is a great way to satisfy the fall craving! Just order: 

  • A Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte; 
  • 1.2 pumps of pumpkin sauce; 
  • Some coconut milk. 


Chai Tea Latte

The healthy version of this amazing drink requires ordering: 

  • A Grande hot or iced chai tea latte; 
  • Almond milk; 
  • One pump of chai; 
  • Two pumps of sugar-free vanilla; 
  • One shot of blonde espresso. 

Same taste, amazing flavor!


Pumpkin Spice Flat White

A great way to create a healthy version of this treat is to ask for: 

  • A Grande flat white; 
  • A pumpkin spice topping; 
  • Some almond milk. 

Now that the craving for fall drinks is there, here are some healthy Starbucks drink options that you can enjoy year-round:

  • Mint Majesty: 0 calories;
  • Black Coffee: 0 to 5 calories;
  • Caffé Americano: 15 calories;
  • Cold Brew with Cold Foam: 35 calories;
  • ‘Fake’ Chai Latte: 60 calories (chai tea bag with half milk, half water);
  • Iced Skinny Mocha: 120 calories;
  • Cappuccino: 140 calories (with skim milk);
  • Iced Flat White: 150 calories.

There are many health benefits to drinking coffee, including the fact that the coffee beans are full of antioxidants, may have anti-inflammatory properties and could potentially prevent heart disease. However, the pros to drinking coffee can be drowned out by the many calories and sugars added to make coffee taste sweeter. 

The most important thing to remember is moderation. Make sure the coffee consumption, whether a Pumpkin Spice Latte or Decaf Coffee, is within a healthy limit. Here are some tips to make a sweet coffee drink taste amazing but also reduce the extras to make them healthier: 

  • Avoid overusing sweetened syrups, cream and whipped cream when using creamers. 
  • Opt for a tall or grande drink whenever possible to avoid consuming a ton of calories.
  • Cut down on the pimps of syrup, whipped cream, etc., to create a lighter version. 
  • Splashing any milk shouldn’t do any damage, but skim, dairy-free or non-fat milk can take care of cutting down some calories. 


A Parting Reminder

Fall is a beautiful time of year, and the nostalgia that comes with it is unbeatable. Starbucks drinks have become an essential part of that fall nostalgia with the spicy, sharp scents and sweet tickly smells of cinnamon, pumpkin and sugar. The smell is enough to conjure up images of orange, yellow and red hues found on the trees outside and makes snuggling up with a blanket and book extremely tempting. 

Just remember, when it comes to anything, moderation is key! So, next time the craving for a Starbucks Fall drink comes up, mix the unnecessary creamers, cut down on pumps of syrup and order smaller sizes to make a healthier treat. Now grab a scarf and go get a Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks. Enjoy!

Adreana Mendez

Adreana Mendez