Whether it's at the airport, a rest stop or on the way to work, Starbucks is a convenient place to grab a meal along with your grande latte. But with all of those tempting pastries and desserts, it can be a hard place to make healthy choices. There are also a number of things on the menu that sound pretty healthy but fall short on nutrition — e.g., the "Eggs & Cheese Protein Box" that comes with sweetened peanut butter and bread that's not 100-percent whole grain, or the wholesome sounding "Artisan" bread that contains no whole grains at all. On the other hand, there are some foods that are healthy, but don't really taste that great.
So we set out find the tastiest breakfast, lunch and snack items on the Starbucks menu that also fit into a healthy diet — read on for our favorite healthy foods at Starbucks!
1. Classic Whole Grain Oatmeal
By most standards the classic oatmeal, which is high in fiber and low in sodium and saturated fat and contains no added sugar, is the healthiest breakfast item on Starbucks' menu — it also happens to be one of the best tasting. The oatmeal has a slightly nutty flavor and a great texture that's a combo of toothsome and creamy — not mushy! — thanks, presumably, to the fact that it's a blend of old-fashioned and steel-cut oats. Add the packets of nuts and fruit for a flavor and nutrition boost, but skip the brown sugar to keep it extra healthy. A splash of milk is a nice addition, too.
2. Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon and Egg White Sandwich
Another good pick for scratching that McMuffin-type-sandwich itch, this satisfying sandwich has a decent amount of protein (17 grams) and is low in calories (230), fairly low in saturated fat (2.5 grams, which is 12 percent of the daily value), and doesn't totally break the bank when it comes to sodium (it has 23 percent of the daily value). But the little package packs a lot of flavor and textures, and you really don't miss the fat in the reduced-fat turkey bacon, which is similar to Canadian bacon, and the cheese once it's all sandwiched into the muffin.
3. Spinach, Feta and Egg White Wrap
Roasted tomatoes and spinach boost the flavor and the fiber in this egg white sandwich, which comes in a part-whole-wheat wrap that is miraculously crispy, not soggy. Feta cheese further boosts the flavor and adds some calcium and more protein, though it also contributes to the high sodium content of the sandwich, which has 35 percent of the daily value for sodium. If you grab a wrap for breakfast, be sure to cut back on sodium the rest of the day to keep your intake at a manageable level.
4. Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper Sous Vide Egg Bites
These poppable egg bites boast 12 grams of protein, and save you the sky-high sodium levels in many of the egg sandwich and wrap options (clocking in at just 20% of the recommended daily intake). Monterey Jack cheese, spinach, fire-roasted red peppers and a touch of hot sauce add a burst of flavor with a bit of a kick.
5. Avocado Spread
People are going crazy for Starbucks' avocado spread, and for good reason: It adds tangy, creamy goodness to anything you'd like to spread or dollop it on (breakfast sandwiches, salad bowls, etc.). And avocado is a great source of healthy fats as well as fiber (the 90-calorie serving has 4 grams of fiber). We've seen some comments online questioning whether the bright color of the spread is natural. It appears that it is: The spread's ingredient list says it contains just Haas avocados, sea salt, onion, garlic, jalapeño pepper and lime juice, and a Starbucks rep says it uses high pressure processing (HPP) rather than heat or preservatives to keep it fresh.
6. Kale and Farro Salad
Veggie lovers, rejoice! This vegetarian grain bowl is full of good tasting, good looking and good for you produce, including kale, crisp apples, shredded carrots and red cabbage. Top it off with a tasty red wine vinaigrette. Not only is it delicious, but it has a solid protein and fiber profile, which will fill you up and power you through the afternoon.
7. Chicken & Quinoa Protein Bowl with Black Beans and Greens
Another grain bowl winner, this combo of chicken, black beans, quinoa, sweet corn, tomatoes, crunchy jicama and salty Cotija cheese, has a punchy "Southwestern" flavor. And it's got an impressive 27 grams of protein, thanks to the chicken, black beans and quinoa. It's great as-is, but a container of that avocado spread would be a nice touch on top.
8. Grilled Chicken and Hummus Protein Box
This is one of the better protein boxes when it comes to a healthy and satisfying option (without the sky-high sugar levels some of the other boxes contain). The box offers up 22 grams of protein thanks to chicken and hummus, while the mini slices of naan bread will satisfy any carb cravings while keeping calories manageable. Fresh baby carrots and snap peas are great dippers that add a nutritional boost to this tasty snack.
9. Seasonal Harvest Fruit Blend
You really can't go wrong with a straight-up, no-sugar added fruit cup to up the nutritional content of any meal, and Starbucks' Seasonal Harvest Fruit Blend (which changes but seems to usually involve apples, grapes and oranges) fits the bill nicely... though it has to be said that the cups at our local Starbucks don't look quite as gorgeous as the picture of the blend of Starbucks' website.
10. Salted Almond Chocolate Bites
These chocolate covered nuts are a perfect portion-controlled treat that deliver a punch of protein while satisfying your sweet tooth. Enjoy half the bag for a 150-calorie dessert, and stash the rest in your purse or desk drawer for another day!
This story was updated on 10/8/2020.