Healthy Alternatives to Seasonal Starbucks Drinks

Clare Canavan and Carina Sarracino

Although summer and cravings for cold, fruity drinks have come to an end, the season of pumpkin and caramel has arrived just in time for the new Starbucks in downtown Hershey.

With three Starbucks coffee shops now in town, it’s impossible to turn down the occasional Pumpkin Spice Latte. While these sugary, seasonal drinks are delicious, sometimes a healthier alternative is the better choice.

The epitome of fall drinks, the Pumpkin Spice Latte, may be loved for its perfect fall flavor, but it’s certainly not the healthiest pick. The standard 16 oz size for this drink, grande, has 380 calories, 49 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of fat, 8 of which are saturated.

This drink is made with 2 percent milk and topped with whipped cream. The simplest fix to still have the same flavor but with slightly less calories is to switch out the milk for a non-fat alternative and go without the whipped cream to remove all of the fat and lower the calories from 380 to 260.

Another beverage returning for the fall season is the Salted Caramel Mocha, also available as a blended Frappuccino. The Frappuccino, the unhealthier of the two options, is made with whole milk and whipped cream.

The grande has a whopping 440 calories, 69 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of fat with 10 of which are saturated. Removing the whipped cream has the biggest impact on the calories and fat, taking it from 440 to 310 calories and 16g of fat to 4g. If you take off the whipped cream and exchange whole milk with a healthier alternative, the drink will now have 280 calories.

While changing milk types, whipped cream, and sugar content will surely help make your favorite seasonal Starbucks go-tos a little more healthy, they still aren’t great for a daily routine.

For the healthiest and cheapest Starbucks drinks, homemade coffees are the way to go. This is the best way to have full control over sugar, fat, and calorie content. The daily recommended added sugar intake is six teaspoons for females and nine for males, so it’s best to aim for a maximum of about one third of that for daily coffees. Almond and nonfat milks are also the lowest fat and calorie alternative to whole or 2% milks.

Along with the seasonal drinks, Starbucks offers a variety of fall themed pastries and treats. The Pumpkin Spice Scones have 500 calories, 210 from fat, as well as 46g of sugar. An easy way to keep the same pumpkin flavor but cut calories and add protein is to eat the Pumpkin Pie Perfect bar. This protein bar is 320 calories, 14g of whole wheat protein, and includes 20 super foods.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes with whipped cream are 440 calories. The new Starbucks is located at 169 West Chocolate Ave #303, Hershey, PA. (Broadcaster/Clare Canavan)