There’s nothing like a hot cup of coffee in the morning, or a cool, refreshing iced tea on a summer’s day. Starbucks® can provide both delicious drink options, all with the special touch of their signature logo cup. A stop at Starbucks® is not so easy for those on a low FODMAP diet, but certainly not impossible. Follow the tips below to enjoy a drink (or snack) at Starbucks® while staying safe on a low FODMAP regimen.
Start with your base drink
Black coffee and espresso is a safe bet on the low FODMAP diet. When it comes to teas, it can get a little tricky. Black tea made strong, according to Monash University, is OK if limited to a teacup size, or about 6 ounces. If made weak, someone on a low FODMAP diet may be able to tolerate a mug or 8 ounces. You can make weak tea by removing the tea bag from the water as soon as you start to see the water turn color. The following drinks are safe consumed in 8-ounce servings (2/3 Tall drink or (1) Short drink):
- Chai tea, steeped weak.
- Green tea, strongly or weakly steeped.
- Peppermint tea, strongly or weakly steeped.
- Rooibos tea, strongly or weakly steeped.
- White tea, strongly or weakly steeped.
When it comes to other drinks at Starbucks®, here is a list of guidelines:
- Lemonade is safe with its only ingredients being water, lemon juice, lemon oil, and sugar.
- Most Refreshers are not ok. The Cool Lime Refreshers® drink contains erythritol which is ok, but the Strawberry Acai drink contains “fruit and vegetable juices” which may contain apple juice, and the Very Berry Hibiscus drink contains erythritol and freeze-dried blackberries, which is high FODMAP. Any drinks that contain the high FODMAP Refreshers® such as the Violet, Pink, or Ombré drinks are also not safe on a low FODMAPO diet.
- Limit low FODMAP Fizzio™ drinks because of the carbonation.
- No kids drinks since they are either cow’s milk based, or are apple juice.
- Some Evolution Fresh® drinks are safe such as Orange and Organic Strawberry Lemonade. High FODMAP no-no’s are Organic Defense Up contains mango puree and apple juice, Green Devotion contains celery juice, which is only ok in very small quantities, Super Fruit Greens contains mango puree and apple juice, and Watermelon contains watermelon juice.
- Watch out for Shaken drinks. Short versions of Shaken Green tea with or without lemonade are ok. However, Iced Passion Tango Tea, Piña Colada tea, and Peach Citrus White Tea all contain apple in their infusions. Shaken Black Tea may be ok if you request a weak black tea in your Short drink.
- No bottled coffee drinks since many of them that I checked contain cow’s milk.
Flavor your drink
When flavoring your drink, there are many options at Starbucks®, which can make it easy for those on a low FODMAP diet to choose the safest options. Here a few tips for flavoring your drink at Starbucks®:
- Stick to plant-based milks such as almond milk and coconut milk. Unfortunately, the soy milk at Starbucks® is made from whole soybeans, so is high FODMAP.
- Syrups are ok. The regular syrups contain water, cane sugar, citric acid, potassium sorbate, along with extracts and natural flavors, which are all low FODMAP safe.
- Sugar-free syrups may be ok. The sugar-free syrups contain water, natural and artificial flavors, citric acid, cellulose gum, sucralose, the preservative sodium benzoate, and maltodextrin. Maltodextrin is a controversial ingredient in low FODMAP diets since it has not been formally tested for FODMAP levels and is not listed on the guide for Monash University. Maltodextrin can be derived from a variety of foods such as corn, rice, potato, or wheat, so it is hard to tell the origin of the maltodextrin in certain foods. However, many sites and research, as well as anecdotal statements shows that maltodextrin may be safe for most on a low FODMAP diet. Just be sure to check for tolerance before consuming too much of items that contain maltodextrin.
- Half a cup of whipped cream is OK on the low FODMAP Diet.
- Some sauces and powders are ok like vanilla powder (sugar, natural and artificial flavors, vanilla bean pieces) and mocha sauce (water, sugar, cocoa processed with alkali, vanillin) for their frozen drinks. Dark mocha sauce contains invert sugar, water, corn syrup, cocoa, citric acid, salt, potassium sorbate, and xanthan gum, which are all low FODMAP.
- Skip the drizzle since caramel drizzle contains cream and nonfat milk and cinnamon dolce topping contains “extractives of butter(milk).”
- No strawberry drink since it contains an infusion of apples.
Choose a safe meal or snack item
Although there are many choices for snacks at Starbucks®, they are not all low FODMAP safe. Here is a list of safe choices. (Disclaimer: all ingredients have been checked on the Starbucks® website. Some menu items may not be at all locations.)
- Strawberry & Toasted Almonds Overnight Grains
- Classic Oatmeal
- Sous Vide Bacon and Gruyere Egg Bite (contains a small amount of celery powder that the bacon was cured with)
- Sous Vide Egg White and Red Pepper Egg Bite
- Justin’s® Chocolate Hazelnut Butter and Classic Almond Butter
(Disclaimer: Menu items may vary according to location. Some menu items that are safe may not be listed. Ingredients may change. Be sure to read the ingredient label carefully before consuming any packaged items.)
Written by Staci Gulbin, MS, RD a Board-certified dietitian.