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The 9 Healthiest Coffee Drinks and Smoothies

By: , – Stepfanie Romine, Staff Writer
3/21/2013 6:00 AM   :  77 comments   :  250,584 Views

One of the sneakiest places excess calories hide is in beverages--and two of the biggest culprits are coffee drinks and smoothies. Though coffee itself is calorie-free and smoothies are made with fruit, the extras we add to these beverages can tack on hundreds of calories! Thankfully, there are plenty of better choices out there. Here, we've rounded up the nine healthiest smoothies and coffee drinks!

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In choosing these beverages, we looked at calories, fat and added sugar. We tried to choose beverages with wide availability nationwide, with a variety of hot and cold drinks that are both sweetened and unsweetened. We think you'll find one to suit your preferences!

McDonald's Iced Coffee with Sugar Free French Vanilla Syrup (small)
Coffee drinks don't have to be complicated to be delicious and decadent. Simply add a sugar-free flavored syrup to your usually coffee for a treat!
80 calories
4.5 g fat
1 g sugar
Caribou Coffee Northern Lite Latte (small)
It is possible to indulge in a latte for less than 100 calories. Choose skim milk, sugar-free syrup--and hold the whip.
90 calories
0.5 g fat
12 g sugar
McDonald's Nonfat Latte with Sugar Free French Vanilla Syrup (small)
Lattes are a safe bet no matter where you go for coffee. Thanks to the milk, you'll also get 9 grams of belly-filling protein!
100 calories
0 g fat
13 g sugar
Caribou Coffee Iced Northern Lite Mocha (small)
This cool treat mixes espresso, your choice of chocolate and skim milk. It makes a calorie-conscious snack any time of day.
110 calories
1 g fat
19 g sugar
Dunkin Donuts Caramel Iced Coffee (small)
Dunkin Donuts comes in a variety of flavors, and you can get it sweetened or unsweetened. Even with caramel flavoring, this one has no fat--and just 100 delicious calories.  
110 calories
0 g fat
24 g sugar
Starbucks Caffè Vanilla Frappuccino Light Blended Beverage (tall)
Frappuccinos are a cross between coffee and a milkshake, and many of them are far too rich for an average day. Opt for the light version, which are made with the natural sugar substitute stevia.
130 calories
0 g fat
29 g sugar
Smoothie King Slim-N-Trim Vanilla (Make It Skinny) (20 ounces)
Smoothies are a great way to get in a healthy meal on the go. Unfortunately, many restaurants that specialize in smoothies jack up the calories by adding sugar and high-calorie juice. Opt for the "Slim-N-Trim" varieties at Smoothie King, which are made with banana and a proprietary protein blend.
153 calories
1 g fat
19 g sugar
McCafé Strawberry Banana Smoothie
McDonald's added smoothies a couple of years ago, and while they do contain the most sugar out of any on our list, they are low in fat. Unfortunately these smoothies only contain 3 grams of protein, which won't do much to fight hunger.
210 calories
0.5 g fat
44 g sugar
Jamba Juice Berry Blend Smoothie (small)
This berry-based smoothie contains both soymilk and protein powder to boost staying power, plus six grams of fiber!  
290 calories
4.5 g fat
37 g sugar
What is your favorite coffee drink or smoothie? Did it make our list?

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  • JLCAMP09
    I love iced coffee during the summer. Nothing is better on a hot day than an iced cold raspberry mocha. Its been a downfall for me. Gonna try to order the healthier option from now on. - 8/18/2012   11:33:45 AM
  • 26
    I enjoy coffee beverages for an occasional treat. (For coffee, I drink coffee, plain and simple.) But I'm lactose-intolerant, so I go for soy options at Starbucks -- McCafe and Dunkin Donuts don't offer them. I would really appreciate Spark People including the soy milk beverages in these kinds of comparisons. I'd like to know how my drinks stack up too! - 5/19/2012   12:00:34 PM
  • 25
    Great stuff, if only I had a Smoothie King anywhere nearby. If that doesn't work, then look to the Hungry Girl recipe books for some great, easy smoothies that are low in calories. - 12/13/2011   9:14:34 AM
  • 24
    I was actually just poking around the Starbucks website looking for a treat that fits in with my goals and I was surprised at what a difference using non-fat milk can make! My fav is the gingerbread latte, an 80z cup is only 100cal but still a little heavy on the carbs. Good for a once in a while treat though - 11/19/2011   11:57:54 AM
    I make my own latte at home with nonfat with and instant coffee granules and equal. and or a flavored hazelnut sugar free sugar. - 11/18/2011   8:07:15 AM
  • 22
    I love my nonfat, decaf misto with sugar free: vanilla, peppermint, caramel. And of course, I usually get a venti!! - 11/15/2011   9:52:52 PM
  • 21
    Thanks for the blog. I'm trading my skinny cinnamon dolce latte in for a nonfat caffe miso. - 11/15/2011   8:14:09 AM
  • 20
    Great blog and graph. Love it. - 11/15/2011   6:55:12 AM
  • 19
    I learned a while ago to forego these as esentially milkshakes with cafinee. They are a real treat, but once I saw them as what they are, I find there are other treats I'd rather have. Good info to have though. - 11/14/2011   7:12:42 PM
  • 18
    I just bought a Keurig and get my sugar free syrups at Starbucks... I make my own drinks at home. :) That way I control what goes in and how much I drink. - 11/14/2011   6:44:19 PM
  • 17
    Wow 60 cal for the iced latte. - 11/14/2011   3:41:54 PM
  • 16
    What about Americano? No milk, no sugar, just coffee.... Nearly zero calories, and all the taste of coffee! - 11/14/2011   3:08:58 PM
  • 15
    I make my smoothies at home; that way I can control what goes into them, and I keep the serving sizes smaller than what they usually serve in these places. - 11/14/2011   1:58:58 PM
  • 14
    I usually go for a shaken green tea - unsweetened or if I need it half sweetened... - 11/14/2011   12:34:38 PM
  • 13
    Tall caramel light frap. 120 cals - 11/14/2011   11:38:25 AM
  • 12
    I usually just get a Starbucks grande iced coffee with nonfat milk. I ask for it unsweetened and then add splenda to avoid any extra calories from the syrup. However, they do offer sugar-free syrup if you have room in your calorie budget.

    I agree that McDonald's coffee always tastes burned. - 11/14/2011   11:19:25 AM
    Im sorry but McDonalds coffee is so nasty. They burn the espresso every time and it tastes burned. - 11/14/2011   10:57:57 AM
  • 10
    Why is it that the drinks highlighted either mediums or larges? If these are splurges, or treats, in our diets and things we should not consume all the time, why aren't small drinks listed? They provide all the flavor and comfort at a reduced cost to all the tickers involved. - 11/14/2011   10:41:19 AM
  • KIMMER74
    I do love to splurge and drink a good latte every once in a while and have chosen to go the "skinny" route. I am not one to drink "empty calories" but this is worth it every once in a while and like the 70-90 calorie coffee drinks! Thanks for the reminder for the all the businesses. - 11/14/2011   10:18:14 AM
  • 8
    i am curious as to what the worst offenders in this category are. - 11/14/2011   10:08:10 AM
  • 7
    Great information thank you for sharing. - 11/14/2011   9:57:05 AM
  • 6
    I am not a coffee drinker...don't like the taste of it. I avoid the smoothies also...too sweet for my taste and as a diabetic not a wise choice. My drink of choice and has been since childhood is water...which I tend to drink to much and have had to limit due to kidney issues at this time. - 11/14/2011   8:44:39 AM
  • 5
    I'm appreciative of this article and very surprised to see McDonald's on top, to be honest. I virtually never go there and if I do all I get is a fruit n yogurt parfait. I'm glad to know that they have a decent coffee option for future reference. - 11/14/2011   8:43:55 AM
  • 4
    Coffee is the one thing I will never be able to give up completely....I am thankful that most of my favorite choices can be made with skim milk and sugar free syrup! - 11/14/2011   7:38:50 AM
  • 3
    I like a tea au lait, with nonfat milk of course, and a splash of sugarfree vanilla syrup. Total - about 45 cals! - 11/14/2011   7:35:20 AM
  • 2
    still LOVE my smoothie king. - 11/14/2011   7:33:22 AM
  • 1
    I love the Starbucks Tchai latte with soymilk. I love any kind of latte's as well. I have in the smallest size and only as a treat. - 11/14/2011   7:02:51 AM

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