Pretty much anyone in America who was alive in the 90s has heard of the Atkins diet, just like we’re all familiar with Starbucks as a household name by now. Developed by cardiologist Robert Atkins in the 1960s, the diet didn’t blow up until around 30 years later when it caught on like wildfire by those looking to lose weight and improve heart health.
Atkins, which is the predecessor to very similar diets like keto, is all about low-carb eating. The approach limits the consumption of carbohydrates to 20, 40, or 100 grams of net carbs per day, and instead focuses on proteins and fats; it’s a multiple-phased diet that’s designed to keep your body in a metabolic state that will burn fat instead of carbs and sustain healthy eating habits.
What’s off limits on the Atkins diet: added sugars and processed foods, simple or refined carbohydrates like breads and cereals, and starches like rice, potatoes, and corn. What’s fair game: low-sugar fruit, complex carbohydrates like legumes and whole grains, and fiber-rich vegetables.
So what does all of this mean when it comes to the Starbucks menu? If you’re on the Atkins diet, here’s everything you can order at America’s favorite coffee chain that’ll keep in step with a low-carb diet.
Atkins-friendly food options on the Starbucks menu
The factor that will rule out most of the food on the menu is whether it’s processed or contains added sugar – and at a quick-service chain like Starbucks, that’s bound to be true of many menu items. However, considering the overall acceptable foods and those to avoid on Atkins, you’ve still got some low-carb options at Starbucks if you’re popping in for a quick bite.
Atkins can be a fairly complex diet, because exactly what you eat and how many net carbs you allow for will depend on which version and phase of the diet you’re following. For the purposes of this list, we’re basing acceptable Atkins meals and snacks on Atkins 100, which allows for 100 grams of net carbs per day – this is the lifestyle approach of the diet that’s supposed to be sustainable long-term.
Below is the complete list of Atkins-friendly food items on the current Starbucks menu that are low-carb (under 30g per serving) with little to no added sugar.
|Breakfast + Bakery Items||Necessary Modifications|
|Turkey Bacon, Cheddar & Egg White Sandwich|
|Kale & Mushroom Egg Bites|
|Bacon & Gruyere Egg Bites|
|Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites|
|Lunch Items||Necessary Modifications|
|Eggs & Gouda Protein Box||Remove crackers and peanut butter to avoid refined carbs and added sugar|
|Cheese Trio Protein Box||Remove crackers and dried cranberries to avoid refined carbs and added sugar|
|Cheddar & Uncured Salami Protein Box||Remove crackers and dried fruit and nut mix to avoid refined carbs and added sugar|
|Eggs & Cheddar Protein Box||Remove bread and peanut butter to avoid extra refined carbs and added sugar|
|Snack Items||Necessary Modifications|
|Country Archer Hickory Smoked Turkey Jerky|
|Country Archer Original Beef Jerky|
Atkins-friendly drink options at Starbucks
As far as beverages, Starbucks makes it easy to modify your drinks to fit your personal tastes and dietary needs – so there’s definitely more to choose from that will be conducive to the Atkins diet.
Coffee and tea is carb-free by nature, so you’re safe there. If you want to enjoy one of Starbucks’s signature drinks or you like milk-based coffee and tea beverages, then the best way to keep your drinks low-carb is to substitute the milk (Starbucks uses 2% milk by default) for heavy cream – or even better, half heavy cream and half water. Heavy cream will be your best milk option because it’s high in fat but very low in carbs (and sugar). Almond milk is generally low-carb as well, but the barista blend that Starbucks uses comes with added sugar which you’ll want to stay away from.
Speaking of added sugar, that’s the other thing to be aware of when you order Starbucks drinks on the Atkins diet. Many beverages come sweetened with syrups and other sweeteners, so it’s important to know what to remove or substitute to cut down on sugar and carbs as much as possible (along with that, you’ll want to steer clear of the whipped cream).
Starbucks does offer sugar-free syrups, which typically come with around 1 gram of carbs per pump. They’re made with artificial sweeteners like sucralose and maltodextrin, which Atkins does allow for. So the key will be subbing in a sugar-free syrup wherever possible (Starbucks offers those in a few flavors like vanilla, caramel, and cinnamon dolce). They also offer Stevia and Splenda if you prefer these artificial sweeteners.
Here’s the full list of hot and cold drinks on the Starbucks menu that you can feel good about ordering on the Atkins diet, along with any necessary modifications to keep them low-carb and sugar-free.
|Hot Drinks||Necessary Modifications|
|Brewed Coffee [Featured Blonde Roast, Featured Dark Roast, Medium-Roast Pike Place, Decaf Pike Place, Veranda Blends, Caffé Verona Blends, Clover® Starbucks Reserve® Blends]|
|Espresso Macchiato||Sub heavy cream|
|Caffè Misto||Sub heavy cream + water|
|Cappuccino||Sub heavy cream|
|Flat White||Sub heavy cream + water|
|Caffè Latte||Sub heavy cream + water|
|Cinnamon Dolce Latte||Sub heavy cream + water, sub sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup, no whipped cream|
|Oleato Caffè Latte with Oatmilk||Sub splash of heavy cream|
|Starbucks Reserve® Latte||Sub heavy cream + water|
|Blonde Vanilla Latte||Sub heavy cream + water, sub sugar-free vanilla syrup|
|Caramel Macchiato||Sub heavy cream, sub sugar-free vanilla syrup, no caramel sauce|
|Black Tea [Earl Grey, Royal English Breakfast]|
|Teavana® London Fog Tea Latte||Sub heavy cream + water, sub sugar-free vanilla syrup|
|Royal English Breakfast Tea Latte||Sub heavy cream + water, sub stevia|
|Green Tea [Emperor’s Clouds & Mist, Jade Citrus Mint]|
|Herbal Tea [Mint Majesty, Peach Tranquility]|
|Iced Coffee [Starbucks Iced Coffee Blend, Iced Clover® Brewed Coffees]||Order unsweetened or sub stevia|
|Iced Coffee with Milk||Heavy cream|
|Nitro Cold Brew|
|Cold Brew Coffee with Milk||Heavy cream|
|Iced Caffè Americano|
|Iced Shaken Espresso||Sub heavy cream, sub stevia|
|Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso||Sub heavy cream, sub sugar-free vanilla syrup|
|Iced Flat White||Sub heavy cream + water|
|Iced Caffè Latte||Sub heavy cream + water|
|Iced Cinnamon Dolce Latte||Sub heavy cream + water, sub sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup, no whipped cream|
|Starbucks Reserve® Iced Latte||Sub heavy cream + water|
|Iced Blonde Vanilla Latte||Sub heavy cream + water, sub sugar-free vanilla syrup|
|Iced Tea [Black, Green, Peach Green, Passion Tango]||Order unsweetened or sub stevia|
|Iced London Fog Tea Latte||Sub heavy cream + water, sub sugar-free vanilla syrup|
|Iced Royal English Breakfast Tea Latte||Sub heavy cream + water, sub stevia|
The best low-carb milk option at Starbucks is heavy cream, which is a low-carb, high-fat dairy choice that comes without any added sugar. Almond milk is also a good low-carb choice, but the brand that Starbucks uses (Califia Farms Barista Blend) comes with 5 grams of added sugar per serving. To limit carbs as much as possible, substitute your milk for half heavy cream, half water.
Starbucks sugar-free syrups are made with sucralose and maltodextrin, which is a carb. While the sugar-free syrups are a low-carb choice compared to the other sweeteners at Starbucks, they do come with about 1 gram of carbs per pump.
Coffee, espresso, and caffeine in general is allowed on the Atkins diet (as long as it’s not consumed in excess). You can have a latte, but be mindful of the milk used – many milks come with natural carbs and sugar. The best low-carb choice will typically be heavy cream or unsweetened almond milk.