Starbucks Released a Secret Fall Menu—Here's How to Make the Drinks Healthier
Drink your delicious pumpkin spice hot chocolate (without worrying about tons of added sugar).
Starbucks recently published a blog post and called out ways to spice up your fall order. While the options sound tasty—think: Pumpkin Spice White Chocolate Mocha, Fall Iced Tea and Double Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew—they're not *exactly* healthy. In fact, most of these are packed with more than your recommended daily value of added sugar (6 teaspoons for women, 9 teaspoons for men) since you're doubling down on things like pumpkin spice sauce and pumps of syrup.
But, we're all about enjoying fall (and the delicious treats that come with it), so we came up with our own ways to enjoy Starbucks' secret fall menu while still staying on track. The store's online nutrition calculator doesn't adjust numbers for some of our menu hacks, but we know that cutting down on things like whipped cream, syrup and flavored sauces will help cut back on calories and sugar.
Pumpkin Spice Macchiato
Starbucks suggests asking for a Caramel Macchiato with pumpkin sauce instead of vanilla syrup, but that combo has 250 calories and 34 grams of sugar (some of that sugar comes naturally in the milk, but there are still 23 grams of added sugar.) For all of the pumpkin-y goodness, but way less sugar, ask for a light caramel drizzle (or none at all) and one pump of pumpkin instead of the three that traditionally come with the grande size. For an extra-festive fall touch, ask for a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Pumpkin Spice White Chocolate Mocha
Starbucks suggests asking for a grande PSL with two pumps of white chocolate mocha sauce, two pumps of pumpkin spice sauce, whipped cream and pumpkin spice topping, but that has 50 grams of sugar! We think it'd taste every bit as delicious with just one pump of pumpkin spice sauce and one pump of white chocolate mocha sauce, no whipped cream and a sprinkle of the pumpkin spice topping. Plus, you'd slash the sugar by about half.
Pumpkin Spice Doubleshot on Ice
For this icy treat, Starbucks says to ask for a grande Doubleshot on Ice with three pumps of pumpkin spice sauce and a splash of 2% milk. This is one of the least-sugary items on the menu, but you could certainly slash the added sugar even more by dialing back the pumpkin spice sauce pump to just one.
Pumpkin Spice Java Chip Frappuccino
Starbucks' Java Chip Frappuccino has 66 grams of sugar—or about 16.5 teaspoons—in the grande size. The fall version of this bad boy has two pumps of mocha sauce, two pumps of pumpkin spice sauce and a mocha drizzle. If you really have a sweet tooth, go for the tall size and ask for just one pump each of mocha and pumpkin sauce and skip the mocha drizzle.
Salted Caramel Pumpkin Frappuccino
Starbucks says to ask for a grande Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino with two pumps of pumpkin spice sauce, whipped cream, caramel drizzle and sea salt topping. While we love a sweet-and-salty combo, we're not loving the nutrition numbers on this. A grande size has 440 calories, 69 grams of sugar and 12 grams of saturated fat. We're not here to be the fun police—but we suggest enjoying this treat with a few changes. Ask for 2% instead of whole milk; do one pump each of mocha and pumpkin sauce; ask for light whipped cream, but skip the caramel drizzle and instead sprinkle on the smoked sea salt topping.
Fall Iced Tea
For this autumnal tea, Starbucks suggests ordering a grande Teavana Shaken Iced Black Tea with coconut milk, two pumps of pumpkin spice sauce and two pumps of cinnamon dolce syrup. We think it'd be just as delicious with almond milk (which cuts down on some of the sugar), and one pump each of pumpkin spice sauce and cinnamon dolce syrup.
Pumpkin Spice Flat White
Starbucks says to order a Grande Flat White with pumpkin spice topping. This is the healthiest option on the list, but still uses creamy and oh-so-satisfying whole milk. Feel free to order as-is, or sub in your favorite milk (we love it with 2% or almond milk, too.) Unlike the pumpkin spice sauce, their topping doesn't have any added sugar. Just all the pumpkin spice flavor you love.
Caramel Apple Pumpkin Spice
Caramel apples and pumpkin spice sound like the ultimate fall mashup! For this warming drink, Starbucks says to ask for a grande Caramel Apple Spice with two pumps of pumpkin spice sauce. We're not sure if this is in addition to the *four* pumps of cinnamon dolce syrup, whipped cream and caramel drizzle, but we want to take a sugar-induced nap just thinking about it! To make this drink a little healthier, size down to a tall, skip the cinnamon dolce syrup and ask for just one pump of pumpkin spice sauce. Go with a light caramel drizzle and whipped cream for a healthier, but still decadent, drink.
Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
As if Starbucks' Hot Chocolate wasn't decadent enough (with 10 grams of sat fat and 43 grams of sugar in the grande size), they suggest asking for your cocoa with two extra pumps of pumpkin spice sauce! While the pumpkin-chocolate combo sounds delicious, we think you'd get all the flavor you're after with just one pump of pumpkin spice sauce, no vanilla syrup and no mocha drizzle. Keep the whipped cream, though—we're not monsters.
Double Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew
Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is the newest fall darling to land on Starbucks' menu, and I have to say that it's absolutely delicious. To up the pumpkin ante, Starbucks suggests swapping the vanilla syrup for pumpkin sauce. Since the drink already has 31 grams of sugar (there's sugar in the pumpkin cold foam), we say to omit the vanilla syrup and go for just one pump of pumpkin sauce instead of two—you'll get all of that pumpkin flavor you're after, without all of the added sugar. Or you could make your own cold brew at home and add some pumpkin spice simple syrup (just mix equal parts boiling water and sugar, plus a dash of pumpkin spice and mix until everything is dissolved).