6 Holiday Drinks Are Back at Starbucks—Here's How to Make Them a Little Healthier

Step aside, PSL. It's Iced Sugar Cookie Latte season!

We haven't even "fallen back" yet, but many Americans have already consumed their yearly quota of pumpkin spice lattes. (This isn't just us, right?!)

Since the coffee drink with a major following has been available on the Starbucks menu for more than 2 months, some devotees of the java brand have been jonesing for a refresh. Well you need not wait any longer, as the winter holiday menu just launched.

3 Starbucks holiday drinks on a designed background

This year's holiday drink menu includes six returning favorites, including:

Since coffee comes packed with some serious health benefits, we don't feel one hint guilty about enjoying a homemade or on-the-go cup each day. That said, ranging from a fairly reasonable 200 calories (for the Irish Cream Cold Brew) to a meal-sized 440 calories (Peppermint Mocha) per grande 16-ounce serving, the nutrition facts on these seasonal drinks might push them out of regular-habit territory.

Our on-staff dietitians and the baristas at Starbucks do have a few tricks about how to lighten them up, whether you plan to enjoy one daily or just once this season:

  • Ditch the standard dairy. The baristas use 2% milk as the default on all of the traditional mochas and lattes. Opting for nonfat milk or dairy-free almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk and soy milk can trim a few calories and grams of fat.
  • Ask for fewer pumps. Cut calories and grams of sugar by choosing a sugar-free syrup. Or even better since the jury is still out about how sugar substitutes impact your gut microbiome, ask for half as many pumps for a mild yet noticeable flavor boost.
  • Go without whip. For hot drinks, ask for half the usual whip or no whip to trim between 80 and 110 calories, depending on the serving size and menu item. And for iced, a dollop of unsweetened cold foam, made with nonfat milk, is a lighter way to add a creamy element.
  • Size it right. A "short" clocks in at 8 ounces, or half of the "grande" size so you can satisfy your seasonal cravings for half the calories, fat and sugar.

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