Some days there is just no time to pack a healthy lunch. On those days, I often turn to my friend, Starbucks. It’s located everywhere, you can get in and out fairly quick, and it smells great. Although they do offer many high calorie drinks and pastries, it is possible to get a delicious and healthy meal that will leave you feeling energized for the rest of your day. Here are a few of my favorites!
Best Lunch Item: Hearty Veggie and Brown Rice Salad Bowl. I’m slightly obsessed with this salad. Not only is it great tasting and filling; nutritionally, it’s a thing of beauty. Kale, orange and red veggies, whole grains, I really couldn’t ask for more. Even with the dressing it only has 430 calories. It also offers over 100% of your daily value of vitamin A and vitamin C. Just from one meal! I highly recommend this salad. If for some reason you are not within a 5 mile radius of a Starbucks you can find a copycat recipe here.
Runner Up: Protein Bistro Box. The bistro box is also a good choice. Despite it’s name, it’s not that high in protein. It has 13 grams of protein, which is not even a fourth of the recommended 65 grams per day. But overall, I like it. The box includes grapes, apple slices, 1 egg, small nut butter packet, white cheddar and 1 multigrain bread. The total calories come in at 380, which leaves you a little room for a drink.
Best Drink: Iced Coffee or Tea. It may not be as exciting as a frappucino, but it’s a heck of a lot better for you. The closer your coffee is to real coffee, and the less it resembles a milk shake, the better it is for you! If you want to add a little extra excitement to your coffee or tea get it with nonfat milk or soy. It’s best unsweetened. If you prefer sweetened ask for just 1 or 2 pumps of sweetener. Each pump of sweetener or teaspoon of sugar adds twenty calories.
Runner Up: Skinny Vanilla or Hazelnut Latte. A tall skinny latte only has 100 calories, which makes it a decent choice calorie wise. The main calorie savings come from using non-fat milk and an artificially sweetened syrup instead of the classic sugar sweetened syrup. I’m okay with artificial sweeteners in small amounts, but if you prefer to avoid them then don’t order “the skinny.”
Best Treat: Petite Vanilla Bean Scone. I love that Starbucks actually offers a small pastry, so many times I want a little treat, but I’m not about to order a 400 calorie muffin. The little sign in the display counter encourages you to order 3 petite scones, but you don’t have to. Just go for one and enjoy your 120 calorie treat.
Runner Up: Cake Pop. Again, I chose this as a good treat because it is a small serving which has built in calorie control. BUT, keep in mind that cake pops are very dense so the calories are not as low as one might think. My favorite kind (salted caramel cake pop) is still 180 calories. Sigh. A cake pop is essentially made by taking a fluffy piece of cake and then smooshing it down to form a dense ball with frosting. Is this healthy? No. Is it delicious? Yes. In comparison to the other pastries the cake pop still wins because it’s less than half of the calories of the other “treat foods.”
What are your favorite healthy Starbucks eats?
P.S. Did you notice any changes? What do you think?