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The 5 Worst Items at Starbucks

May 12, 2014
Today, we're kicking off a 10-part series on eating at chain restaurants. Throughout the series, we'll take a look at many of the most popular eateries in the country and let you know five items to stay away from, and five items that you can feel comfortable to eat up.

While the Starbucks menu lists many high-calorie drinks, it also lists many low-calorie drinks too. What's more, Starbucks's low-calorie drinks are actually tasty, refreshing and just as satisfying as the higher-calorie drinks. If you order smartly, you can maximize your nutrient intake and make your taste buds happy too.

Here's a guide to what not to eat and drink at Starbucks and what to get instead. You'll be surprised to see how many healthy and delectable alternatives are available.

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DON'T DRINK: White Chocolate Mocha (tall) 

Just by its name you know that the White Chocolate Mocha is definitely a fatty, borderline-dessert drink. Though it is undoubtedly delicious (you can't go wrong with espresso and white chocolate), 310 calories is too high for any drink, especially when all you're drinking is fat and sugar.

INSTEAD DRINK: Luckily, there is a lower calorie Frappuccino option: the Coffee Frappuccino Blended Coffee (tall). It's just as cold, creamy, and satisfying as the White Chocolate Mocha, except it has about half the amount of calories, at only 160.

DON'T DRINK: Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino Blended Creme (tall)The name of this drink sounds amazing, and--alright, fine--it tastes pretty darn good too. But 360 calories for a tall (not even a grande!) Frappuccino means you'll be doing an extra 30-minute cardio session just to burn it off. Is it really worth it?

INSTEAD DRINK: It's not exactly double chocolate chip (what can get better than that?), but Starbucks' Caramel Frappuccino Light Blended Coffee (tall) is only 100 calories, and that's a major steal in the Frappuccino world--especially for something that's that yummy.

DON'T DRINK: Tazo Green Tea Frappucino Blended Creme (tall)
Green tea is supposed to increase your metabolism and subsequently help you lose weight, but that's definitely not what it does when in Frappuccino form. Starbuck's Tazo Green Tea Frappuccino is so creamy and milky that that's where all of its 290 calories are coming from. Be warned: green tea's metabolic abilities won't be able to help you here.

INSTEAD DRINK: Once you take milk and cream out of the picture, tea will work its magic and do amazing things for your health. Though Shaken Iced Tazo Passion Fruit Tea (tall) is made of a passion fruit tea blend rather than green tea, it's one of the cleanest teas at Starbucks, and is only 60 calories.

DON'T EAT: Classic Coffee CakeYou can already taste the calories once you bite into a small square of Starbucks's classic coffee cake for the first time. 390 calories is an awfully large amount for such a small amount of food with little to no nutrients, so if you're thinking of eating smart today, try staying away from coffee cake.

INSTEAD EAT: Spinach, Roasted Tomato, Feta & Egg White Wrap is only 280 calories. For a whole wrap, that's definitely a steal, especially for a place like Starbucks that's not necessarily known for its health value. The wrap also has many more nutrients--protein from the egg whites, and vitamins and minerals from the spinach and tomato--than most other Starbucks foods, so you'll surely be energized for your day after eating it.

DON'T EAT: Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino (tall)It's definitely tempting to get a Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino on a hot day, but is it worth an extra 30-minute cardio workout to burn 290 calories of vanilla, milk, cream and sugar?

INSTEAD EAT: At only 60 calories, the Iced Skinny Vanilla Latte (tall) is one of the lowest-calorie drinks offered at Starbucks. This drink will definitely get you your daily dose of coffee without having to think about the gym for the rest of the day.

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Kristine Hoang is a freelance writer and graphic artist based in Orange County, Calif. She graduated from UC Irvine with a degree in history and currently writes about food, education, career and lifestyle for various alternative weekly newspapers and online publications. Besides writing, Kristine has former experience in fashion, non-profits, and graphic design. To learn more about Kristine and her work, visit her About.Me page.



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