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It's that time of year again. The red cups are out, and the menu is a bit more crowded than usual. Starbucks holiday drinks are here, and they're harder to resist than ever. Some of these limited-time lattes pack over 300 calories, so they're certainly not the best option during the holiday season when you're already facing a bounty of tempting treats. So you don't have to avoid them completely, these easy hacks and tricks can shave away calories and fat because we think that nobody should be deprived of the joyous holiday festivity at Starbucks.

November 29, 2016

Admit ityou've been waiting all year long for Starbucks’ seasonal menu to roll around so that you can order your favorite festive latte. Trust us, we’re right there with you. From gingerbread to peppermint mocha, the holiday drinks that Starbucks offers not only taste delicious, but they provide that added touch of festivity and end-of-year cheer that we all need.

However, clocking in at over 300 calories, some of these lattes may not be the best drink option during the time of year when temptations surround you. Rather than avoiding them altogether, make one or more of these few minor adjustments so that you can take advantage of healthier options. This way, you don’t have to give up your joyous trip to Starbucks and the blissful feeling of sipping on a wintery drink out of that signature red cup.

1. Opt for a Low-Fat or Alternative Milk

If you’re simply looking to save calories, swap out whole milk for nonfat, soy, almond, or coconut. Sure, one could argue that there’s no need to avoid full-fat dairy, but in the case that you just want to shave off a couple calories, this is in easy swap that barely sacrifices flavor.

2. Ask for a Half Pump of Syrup

Yes, Starbucks offers a wide range of sugar-free syrups, but those a chock full of other artificial sugar. Instead, ask for a half pump of regular syrup. This will cut back on the fat and calorie content by far, and you still get that festive flavor that you know and love. Let’s face it, these lattes are sweet, so scaling back on the syrup ain’t no thang.

3. Use the Spice Station

You know those shakers looming by the milk and cream counter that you probably never touch while you’re doctoring up your drink? Try them! Without adding any calories, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla powder, and chocolate powder are all easy ways to add a touch of warm, cozy flavor. We think you can even go sans syrup and rely on these aromatic spices for your coffee.

4. Make It a Misto

Not only is it an extremely fun word to say, mistos are, in our humble opinion, the most underrated drink on the Starbucks menu. Rather than a latte, which is espresso and steamed milk, a misto is coffee and steamed milk. By these ratios, there’s much less milk in a misto, thus cutting calories significantly, but still providing that foamy mouthfeel of a hot latte. If you want, you can ask for a pump of syrup in this so as not to completely miss out on the holiday fun.

5. Get a Tall

While it may be tempting to consume 20 ounces of a Cinnamon Dolce Latte, trust us, you don’t need it. Take slow, long sips and make every last drop of that delicious holiday latte count. Plus, tall beverages cost less, so wins all around!

Photo: Jennifer Causey

6. Make Your Order at Home Instead

We understand that there’s something magical about walking into Starbucks, hearing them call out your name, and skipping up to the counter as the jolly barista hands you your Chai Eggnog Latte. However, if you’re up for some fun DIY action, make a lighter latte at home for a fulfilling treat in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Armed with these simple swaps and tips, you can navigate the holiday menu at Starbucks without sinking hundreds of calories and double digit sugar numbers. We don't plan on missing out on our holiday coffee order, and neither should you. Just do so in a smarter, lighter way.