For some, Starbucks is a place to quickly grab a cup of Joe before heading to work or running an errand — for others, it’s a daily destination to get your caffeine fix and so much more. But like many other fast-food and fast-casual restaurants, there can be sugar, fat, and sodium bombs hiding among some of the menu items that you’d think easily fit into your diet of choice. Amid the café’s bakery case and grab-and-go section, there are more than a few hidden gems that remain super tasty and protein-packed — a coffee run that’ll really power you through your day. Real Starbucks fans know that the café portion of the menu is so much more than just the store’s gimmicky cake pops, after all.
With the help of Stefani Sassos, MS, RD, CDN, the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab‘s registered dietitian, we’ve combed over Starbucks’ food menu to find the healthiest options for breakfast, lunch, and a quick snack. Hacking the food menu is a bit harder compared to ordering your favorite coffee; most of the items are pre-packaged (or frozen), so you can’t change ingredients on these options to your liking. If you’re on a special diet or are following a new plant-based lifestyle, be sure to check full ingredient lists on Starbucks’ app or website — it’ll help you find the best option that won’t leave you with something you can’t fully enjoy.
Below, we’re sharing the best Starbucks food orders and grab-and-go items you can sample now, plus calling out any options that may work for vegetarian or vegan dieters, too. Prices vary per market, as does availability, so we’re directing you to Starbucks’ online ordering app to get the final scoop on which items are best for your budget and ease in your area.
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Best Starbucks Breakfast Wrap
Spinach, Feta & Egg White Wrap
Total Carbohydrates: 34g
This veggie-packed breakfast option is Sassos’ top choice on all of Starbucks’ food menu due to its significant source of protein and punch of fiber, too. “The protein count is impressive, and I love that you’re still getting satisfying bites of cheesy egg in each bite,” Sassos says. While the sodium count is high, it’s a significant drop from other vegetarian breakfasts on the menu, including the chain’s Impossible sandwich.
Nutrition Lab Pro Tip: There’s not a purely vegan breakfast sandwich available on the menu. So if you’re a non-vegan seeking out a plant-based option for a potential health halo, this wrap is your best bet!
Best Starbucks Breakfast Sandwich
Turkey Bacon, Cheddar & Egg White Sandwich
Total Carbohydrates: 28g
Bacon isn’t always synonymous with better for you, but in this case, Starbucks’ turkey bacon sandwich contains around half the sodium of other sandwiches on the menu. This includes the Impossible meat option, which has significantly more calories and salt — something that many may not realize at first. “If you’re actually following a stricter vegetarian routine, then I’d understand why the Impossible option may appeal to you — but if you’re eating meat and just think that a faux option will be better for you, you’re actually better off eating this instead,” Sassos explains. Plus, this is one of the menu’s customizable breakfast sandwiches — meaning you can remove any of its components to your liking.
Nutrition Lab Pro Tip: This option has less fiber than the chain’s spinach egg-white wrap as it isn’t made with any vegetables. Try adding a container of the chain’s avocado spread, which contains only 90 calories and 5g of fiber-rich carbohydrates.
Best Starbucks Breakfast Item
Kale & Portabella Mushroom Sous Vide Bites
Total Carbohydrates: 11g
At 180mg of cholesterol, Starbucks’ newest sous vide menu item is nearly 7x the amount found in the chain’s Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper option. But the added cholesterol may be worth the payoff in increased protein and a bit of extra fiber, Sassos says. Either order is a great way to satisfy an early or mid-morning itch to tide you over to lunch (and is a low-carb alternative to traditional sandwiches above).
Nutrition Lab Pro Tip: You can enjoy the optional sriracha here and also opt for a side of the avocado spread to add even more fiber into the equation.
Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal
Total Carbohydrates: 43g
Total Sugars: 13g
Since the chain has yet to debut an entirely vegan breakfast sandwich at this time, this may be the only entirely plant-based breakfast option at Starbucks. For a quick option, the steel-cut oats hold up well to fresh fruit, Sassos says, and oatmeal fans won’t be disappointed.
Nutrition Lab Pro Tip: Reduce the amount of agave syrup sweeteners you’re using from the standard two to one if possible; and try not to add extra brown sugar or coffee-bar options for best results.
Best Starbucks Bakery Item
Petite Vanilla Bean Scone
Total Carbohydrates: 18g
Total Sugars: 8g
Craving something sweet? We understand — and think one (or two if you must!) of these are the perfect sidekick to any coffee order. “While they’re not super high in added sugar like many other pastries in the café, they’re still sweet enough to enjoy, and won’t derail your coffee order either,” Sassos says.
Best Starbucks Lunch Item
Grilled Chicken and Hummus Protein Box
Total Carbohydrates: 32g
It has all the elements of a sandwich, but much less sodium, carbs, and saturated fat. This is likely your best bet for a grab-and-go lunch, Sassos says, and can be enjoyed on a regular basis if Starbucks is your most convenient work-adjacent lunch option.
Nutrition Lab Pro Tip: Any of the chain’s protein boxes are better for you than their paninis, which are overloaded in sodium and saturated fat counts. If you’d like to switch it up, try the Eggs & Cheddar Protein Box, which is lower in sodium (but higher in cholesterol).
Chicken & Quinoa Protein Bowl With Black Beans and Greens
Total Carbohydrates: 42g
Starbucks’ quinoa bowl is the most substantial meal you can get at the chain that can fit into a balanced diet. It packs in 9g of fiber and a hefty serving of protein, and the saturated fat counts aren’t crazy thanks to heart-healthy ingredients in the bowl, Sassos says.
Nutrition Lab Pro Tip: The sodium overload here comes from the chain’s vinaigrette. Use as little as possible to avoid eating more than 1,000mg of sodium in one sitting. If it sounds yummy to you, try swapping out the vinaigrette for a cup or two of the avocado spread — the extra calories are worth dodging copious amounts of salt.
Chickpea Bites & Avocado Protein Box
Total Carbohydrates: 43g
This box is a brand new addition to Starbucks’ cafes around the country, but isn’t in all of its locations just yet. It’s the chain’s first totally vegan lunch option, which features a chickpea-based nugget served with the chain’s avocado spread, a nut mix, and fresh veg. If your location puts one of these out, it may make for a nice option to change things up every once in a while.
Hungry for More?
Our Ultimate Breakfast Guide Is Here
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