Starbucks Keto Options for Low Carb Diets
Can you imagine ordering a cup of ‘Pequod’? Luckily two of Starbucks’ co-founders couldn’t either. ‘Cargo House’ was another name in the running, but Pequod’s first mate Starbuck got the winning vote.
Starbucks is so confident in its brand, it doesn’t even bother to put the name on the logo anymore. They have good reason to feel this way. Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse in the world, serving over 70 million customers every week at 20,000+ stores in 65 countries. Even the CIA has a Starbucks.
It may surprise you to learn that Starbucks’ founders never wanted to sell ready-to-drink coffee. They sold whole beans and coffee-making equipment. The only brewed coffee available was the free samples they gave away to entice people to buy the other stuff. It took a visionary by the name of Howard Schultz to turn the place into the ubiquitous cafe we all know and love today.
With 87,000 possible combinations for just the coffee menu, it’s safe to say you can find something keto-compatible. As always when you are dining out, it’s best to plan ahead. Starbucks has an extensive online nutrition calculatorwhich includes ingredients, but it will not tell you carb counts without the bread, so you’ll have to do a little guesswork. Read on to discover your best bets.
What to Drink at Starbucks for Keto Dieters
Coffee itself has zero carbs, and the smell of the place does half the work (and is 100% carb-free!) so you can definitely enjoy a cuppa. The milk and sweeteners are where you’ll have to pay attention.
Espresso or Americano (black coffee) have no carbs.
Heavy whipping cream has almost no carbs. It is important differentiate this from ‘heavy on the cream’ which will get you half-and-half. The whipped cream is sweetened, so pass on that.
If you are ordering iced coffee, request no sweetener or sugar-free because they automatically add sweetener to the iced beverages.
But I came here for a treat. Starbucks has sugar-free options. (They use Sucralose if you’re interested.) You can also get any drink blended. It won’t look exactly like a Frappucino, but with sugar-free syrup (ask for half-pumps) and heavy cream (or half water, half cream), it will bring your totals down to about 10 net carbs, which means you can have your splurge without blowing your keto.
Sugar-free hot chocolate will run you about 14 net carbs.
Carb-Free Teas at Starbucks
The tea menu is almost as extensive as the one for coffee.
- English Royal Breakfast
- Emperor’s Cloud and Mist®
- Comfort Wellness
- Mint Majesty™
- Organic Jade Citrus Mint™
- Passion Tango™
- Peach Tranquility®
- Rev Up Wellness
- Youthberry® White Tea
- Teavana® Earl Grey
Stick to the teas listed above because the other herb teas contain carbs. Some of them contain a lot of carbs like Citrus Defender, Summer Sunrise, Summer Sunset.
The Teavana® Infusions mostly contain around 11 net carbs. Defense Wellness is acceptable at 3 net carbs.
If you want iced tea, remember to request no sweetener.
What To Eat: Keto-Friendly Meals at Starbucks
Starbucks’ Hot Breakfast for the Ketogenic Diet
There are plenty of good choices for keto on the breakfast menu: eggs, bacon, cheese, sausage, ham, steak. Just ask for one of the sandwiches without the bread and you’re golden.
Sous Vide Egg Bites: Bacon & Gruyere (9 net carbs) You have to say a couple of fancy French words (‘sue veed’) to get your eggs, bacon and cheese but at least you don’t have to request any special prep. (22g fat, 19g protein)
Low Carb Starbucks’ Protein Boxes
Always one to stay up with trends, Starbucks now offers ‘protein boxes.’ Sure, the ingredients can still be kind of carb-y, but at least they’re easy to separate out. No exact carb counts available.
Eggs and Cheese Protein Box – Hardboiled eggs, cheddar and peanut butter are all okay. Since Starbucks’ staff is usually friendly and accommodating, you could ask to replace the apples and pita with extra cheese, cucumbers slices, or peanut butter.
Smoked Turkey Protein Box – You’ll have to toss the bread and the carrots and apple slices aren’t ideal, but the turkey, Swiss and ranch dressing are all a-okay for keto.
Chicken BLT Protein Box – Same as for the turkey, pass on the bread, apples and carrots, but the bacon and antibiotic-free chicken along with ranch dressing should still fill you up.
The Chicken Wrap Protein Box has too much hidden sugar. It’d be hard to eat anyway without the tortilla. The other choices like Chicken with Quinoa, Black Beans and Greens also have too many carbs.
Keto-Compatible Starbucks’ Sandwiches
Once again, you’ll have to pass on the bread, but you still have plenty of options.
- Chicken Caprese
- Egg Salad
- Tomato & Mozzarella
- Turkey & Havarti
Starbucks’ Mercato on Keto
Cauliflower Tabbouleh Side Salad (4 net carbs) Keto-friendly cauliflower replaces the beans in this dish. They have another version with chicken but for some reason, they put chickpeas in with the cauliflower, upping the carbs quite a bit. If you want the meat, you could pick around the peas, or request they leave the tabbouleh out. (12g fat, 2g protein)
Garden Greens & Shaved Parmesan Side Salad (7 net carbs) The dressing is the culprit in this dish. Ask for it on the side and you can lower your carb count significantly. (13g fat, 7g protein)
Low Carb and No Carb Snacks at Starbucks
Starbucks carries bags of flavored almonds and carb-free Moon Cheese if you just want a nibble.
You really can eat anywhere with keto. Keep in mind, as much as Starbucks touts its food as health-conscious, it still contains a significant amount of calories and some other less desirable things like added sugar and nitrates, and therefore should not be a regular feature in any healthy diet.