9 Healthier Starbucks Swaps for the Holidays

9 Healthier Recipes for Starbucks Holiday Drinks

Those seasonal Starbucks cups are already in hand, and that means one thing: The holidays are here! While we adore the coffee chain as much as the next java lover, it’s no secret that their drinks — especially the extra-sweet and chocolatey concoctions — can be chock full of calories and sugar. But what if we told you there’s a way to get the same once-a-year cheer in a more waist-friendly dose? Behold nine healthier make-at-home versions of the classic Starbucks holiday drinks. (Plus, you’ll get a few that the worldwide cafe should have on the menu).

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9 Healthier Starbucks Holiday Drinks to Make at Home

Healthier Starbucks Holiday Drinks: MCT Pumpkin Spice Latte

1. MCT Oil Pumpkin Spice Latte

PSL, meet bulletproof coffee. Unlike the Starbucks version, this pumpkin spice latte uses real pumpkin, maple syrup, spices and vanilla extract. While the MCT oil is optional, it adds a butteriness to the coconut milk base and helps it hold the froth. Photo and recipe: Nutiva / The Kitchen Table

Healthier Starbucks Holiday Drinks: Brown Sugar Cinnamon Latte

2. Cinnamon Brown Sugar Latte

While it’s not possible to whip up a Starbucks’ brown sugar shortbread latte with no sugar, we love that this healthier cinnamon version omits the corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk, butter and heavy cream. Simply add a tablespoon of the cinnamon syrup to the bottom of a mug, drop in a shot of espresso and top with steamed milk. It’s all about balance after all — plus you’ll save $4 on a grande size. Photo and recipe: Anetta / The Wanderlust Kitchen

Healthier Starbucks Holiday Drinks: Cinnamon Coffee Smoothies

3. Cinnamon Coffee Smoothies

Starbucks’ Cinnamon Dolce Latte isn’t on their holiday menu, but it sure tastes like it with those warm flavors. Instead of indulging in a frappuccino, swap in this cinnamon coffee smoothie. It’s basically breakfast in a cup with banana, almond butter, protein powder and maca. When you’ve got an indulgent day of holiday eating ahead, you’ll want to kick it off with this healthy smoothie. Photo and recipe: Jeanine Donofrio / Love & Lemons

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Healthier Starbucks Holiday Drinks: Vegan Gingerbread Latte

4. Vegan Gingerbread Latte

Molasses is the secret ingredient to getting that rich, warm gingerbread flavor in your latte. The biggest challenge with a vegan latte is getting the milk to foam up. Try topping your drink with coconut whipped cream to get the same frothy effect. Sweetener is totally optional! Photo and recipe: Gwen Leron / Delightful Adventures

Healthier Starbucks Holiday Drinks: Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte

5. Pumpkin Chai Latte

While Starbucks’ holiday take on chai this year is a praline chai latte, we find the idea of a pumpkin chai latte way more exciting. Combine pumpkin puree with spices, vanilla and the milk of your choice in a saucepan over medium heat. Then, add the tea bags and let them steep for at least three minutes. The result is a rich and flavorful latte that’s barely sweetened at all. Photo and recipe: Erin Dooner / Texanerin Baking

Healthier Starbucks Holiday Drinks: Vegan Drinking Chocolate with Peppermint

6. Vegan Peppermint Drinking Chocolate

You’ll never go back to boxed hot cocoa mixes once you try this rich and creamy recipe. Drinking chocolate is thicker than hot chocolate because it has solid chocolate instead of cocoa powder. In this recipe, we use dark chocolate, which has more flavonols than milk chocolate. Add a splash of peppermint extract to this cozy latte — it makes it tastes more decadent than it really is. Photo and recipe: Dana Shultz / Minimalist Baker

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Healthier Starbucks Holiday Drinks: Peppermint Mocha Protein Shake

7. Peppermint Mocha Protein Shake

When all you want is peppermint hot cocoa, this peppermint mocha protein shake is a great compromise — plus it’ll give you that jolt you need to get your day started right. This recipe calls for coffee ice cubes, bulletproof collagen protein powder, cacao powder, vanilla, peppermint extract and your choice of sweetener. Photo and recipe: Lisa Wells / Cook Eat Paleo

Healthier Starbucks Holiday Drinks: Horchata

8. Horchata

Horchata, an deliciously spiced Latin American rice milk, was featured on the Starbucks seasonal menu, but never on the holiday one. Well, it should be! In our humble opinion, horchata is a great vegan alternative to uber-indulgent eggnog. Try this recipe as a base, and if you want to spike it with coffee or liquor (or both), we promise we won’t tell. Photo and recipe: Kathryne Taylor / Cookie and Kate

Healthier Starbucks Holiday Drinks: Vegan Matcha Latte

9. 3-Ingredient Vegan Matcha Latte

Although matcha lattes are a treat year-round, we think the cheery, green-hued drink is particularly uplifting during the holidays. Matcha is a good source of L-theanine — a compound shown to ease anxiety and stress — which we all need during this busy time of year! Jazz up your latte with your favorite spices. Photo and recipe: Carmen Sturdy / Life by Daily Burn

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