Starbucks How-To’s

Happy, um, Thursday? Unless you are reading this on Friday – then T-G-I-freakin-F!!

Loved reading the types of foods y’all could never get sick of. Seems like it’s the same things for a lot of us – oats, nut butter, cereal, yogurt, etc. The staples in any diet really, especially if you eat them all together ;)

It was hovering around 1 C this morning. I’m too lazy to Google what that is in Fahrenheit, but just know that’s reallyreally cold! I made a big ‘ole bowl of oats to warm my insides.


PB&J oats to be exact :)

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp plain soy protein powder
  • cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • blueberry jam

I “sandwiched” half the jam and PB in the centre of the bowl again. So sometimes I’d get surprise spoonfuls of PB&J. So fun!

I’d just barely digested this monstrosity by the time I went to BodyPump class two hours later. It at least gave me lots of pumpin’ energy!

This was my first ever “weight lifting class.” I was equally excited and scared, with a little bit of cluelessness. Thankfully, a nice lady in the class helped me pick out appropriate weights and set up my “station.” I knew sort of what to expect going in based on the Typical Class outline online:

  • Warmup (lotsa light deadlifts and bicep curls)
  • Legs/Squats (basically a whole torturous song of nonstop weighted squats)
  • Chest (presses)
  • Back (more deadlifts)
  • Triceps (awful push-ups, with some kickbacks and overhead extensions)
  • Biceps (nothin’ but curls)
  • Lunges (kinda fun! few different kinds which kept it interesting)
  • Shoulders (clean and press with a few rows – my new favourite move!)
  • Abdominals (crunches, etc)
  • Cooldown (lame stretches, where’s my pigeon pose??)

I was still feeling good after, so I did 15 minutes HIIT on the elliptical. Then I called it a day.

I’m not a huge fan of low weights/high reps, I usually do the opposite. Not sure if the class will make it into my regular rotation, but I will definitely use it to switch up my lifting routine once in a while! Gotta keep those muscles guessing ;)

My body was feeling mega empty when I got home, so I pounded back a little protein juice to get me through till lunch.


Appetizing photo :P About a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk and a small scoop of chocolate whey powder.

45 minutes later I had a very satisfying lunch full of things I could never get sick of ;)


Pita with hummus, turkey, tomato, onion, mushrooms, green pepper and zucchini. Wrapped in reinforcements! The key to a sturdy pita. Oh, and some carrot sticks (organic, because they are the sweetest and juiciest and worth every penny!).

Then I rushed off to Starbucks, again! This time to meet a university friend who’s in town from Japan.  I sipped a Zen tea while we chatted about life after uni.


The only time I like green tea is when it’s infused with other flavours. Especially peppermint!

I was scheduled to work afternoon/evening today which is sometimes a nice change to the usual 9-5. This afternoon’s assignment was particularly interesting. I attended a lecture by Reverend Brent Hawkes. He’s originally from New Brunswick, but moved to Toronto in the 70’s to join a special ministry that’s tolerant of homosexuality. He was SO inspiring. The kind of man that just oozes passion and motivation. He was also the reverend that married the first gay and lesbian couples in the world in Toronto in 2001. He said he had to wear a bulletproof vest to the ceremony. Crazy, eh?

Anyways, I got in a quick supper break at home, and just had leftover solyanka and beet salad.


Second verse, same as the first. Just as good the second time around!


In light of my recent Starbucks trips, I thought it would be fun to re-post a series of Starbucks tips I published on my old blog back in March. Some of you may not know that I worked at Starbucks on and off for five years, at several locations. I even managed one during a brief break between high school and university! So without further ado, here are the tips:

1. Ask for no whip. Approximately one-third of a drink’s calories comes from the whipped cream.

2. Ask for non-fat, 1% (they can mix the skim and 2% together on request) or soy milk. Make sure you watch the barista make your drink. The milk canisters are the easiest thing to mix up. It’s never intentional, but pretty easy to dump 2% into a non-fat drink. I always double check the cup is marked as non-fat at the cash after I order, and with the barista when i pick it up at the hand-off counter.

3. Order your drink half-sweet or with sugar-free syrups. Not all syrups come in the sugar free option, so ask which ones they have (it can vary by location). If you don’t like artificial sweeteners, you can order your drink “half sweet” or even specify you just want “one pump of syrup” in your drink for a little sweet kick. This is another thing that’s easy to screw up, so don’t be scared to double check this one with the cashier or barista too.

4. Ask for your frappuccino to be made with skim milk and a shot of espresso to skip all the weirdo ingredients that go into the coffee base. Just keep in mind that the consistency will be a little less creamy.

5. Instead of an iced coffee (which is automatically sweetened), order an iced americano and add your own sweetener and milk. If it’s too strong, ask for one less shot of espresso.

6. Ask for your iced tea unsweetened and add honey yourself at the condiment stand. Be careful when you do this with the iced tea lemonades! The lemonade they use is verrry sour!

7. Order a chai latte as a “chai tea misto.” This way, you’ll get a drink made of half chai tea and half steamed milk, rather than one made with a chai syrup base. This tastes awesome when sweetened with a little honey!

7. Ask for your latte “dry” to get more foam and less milk. Cuts back on the calories and makes your drink stronger and creamier!

8. If your drink ever tastes off or not the way you ordered it, bring it back!It’s a Starbucks policy to automatically re-make any drink you’re not satisfied with. Don’t be scared of getting mean looks from the baristas, so long as you’re polite about it, they will be happy to give you another drink or help you find one you may like better! Remember, you’re paying serious cash for some of these drinks, you deserve to get a drink you like!

There you have it! What are your favourite drinks to order at cafes? I’m a dry nonfat cappuccino gal, sometimes with a squirt of vanilla if I want a sweet treat :)

See ya tomorrow for my first ever step class! Eeek!!

Posted on September 17, 2009, in Restaurants, Workouts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. Sounds like you are making good use of your new gym!

    I am a straight up latte girl. No sweetener, just espresso and milk. Occasionally a drizzle of honey on top. For me, that is the best way to judge the quality of a place. I used to drink flavored lattes all the time, but then I became a coffee snob and realized that coffee itself can taste wonderful. I am a little meh about Starbucks, but many times that is the only option later at night around our little town.

  2. i have cut out coffee for dietary and financial reasons, but back in the day i was a tall soy misto kinda gal.

  3. I don’t have a “go to” coffee shop order; it totally depends on my mood. I do americanos a lot, though. Thanks for the tips…I am so going to order a chai misto next time I go to Sbux! I love chai, especially with milk and sweetener.

  4. We have somehow acquired four different coffee makers at home, so I don’t get to Starbucks much! (A Keurig, a big 10 cup one, a side-by-side traveler’s mug Cuisinart, and a French press–all gifts.)

    When I DO wind up there (usually trying to find a quick airport breakfast or snack), I love the new Strawberry Banana Vivanno. Yum!

  5. Luckily I’m a hot tea straight-up kinda girl, so staying healthy at Starbucks is pretty easy. That pita is a monster! Delish.

  6. I actually prefer Second Cup to Starbucks. I like to treat myself to their Caramel Coretto, made with soy.

  7. ahhh i worked at starbucks for awhile too, and you took most of my tips right out of my mouth. quite frankly, i would tell people to skip the fancy drinks for a treat. having those everyday is not the best decis!

    and i couldn’t agree with you more – green tea is best when mixed with other flavors! have a fabulous night miss susan!

  8. April (Foods of April)

    Thanks soo much for the starbucks tips! I was actually going to do a post asking for tips because I’m a coffee virgin! I’ve been wanting to try a pumpkin latte or that mocha peppermint one.. what’s the best way to order those??

    • Hey April! Order them nonfat and with no whip. The peppermint mocha has TWICE the amount of syrup as the other drinks (equal amounts of the mocha and peppermint syrups), so you could get away with ordering that one half-sweet too :)

  9. Thanks for the tips!! I agree with most :-) Luckily they normally ask me if I want my iced tea sweetened or not. I had no idea that it came sweetened before!

  10. I always go for the Shaken Black Tea with no Classic and light ice in the summer and either hot Zen or Refresh in the cooler months.

  11. Woooo TGIF indeed! Your oats look so delicious–I need to get on the pb&j oat train! Glad Body Pump went well, too. Great starbucks tips! I usually get a black unsweetened iced coffee and add my own packet of stevia that I carry with me. For a treat, I’ll get a skinny latte or a light frappuccino. I really like the seasonal flavors!

  12. I think I commented back in March, but I love these tips! I keep meaning to try the chai tip but I forgot. I will definitely do that next time ;) Do you recommend it as a good company to work for?

    • Lara, I loved working there!! I technically never worked for corporate Starbucks, I was under the “Indigo” and “Coffee Vision Atlantic” umbrellas. But I always loved our Starbucks reps. I really like that they took the time to train employees and make sure they were as knowledgeable about coffee as possible. It may not seem like it, but they really take their coffee seriously!

  13. T-G-I-freakin-F indeed. This week has been LONG! The lecture sounds really interesting :D

    Starbucks… I get iced coffee and just ask for it unsweetened. In the US, the base isn’t sweetened already- they add syrup by default but not if you request it without. I usually just get iced coffee (unsweetened, light on the ice) because Americano’s need tons of ice to cool them down and I don’t like paying for a cup of ice! Or just a drip coffee with sugar free vanilla and a little steamed milk. Then add cinnamon :D

  14. Great coffee tips, thanks for sharing! :D

    Oh, and that is so exciting that you have a 10k coming up this Sunday! :D It’s my longest running race too…actually my first race altogether, so it’s definitely an excited/nervous feeling. I hope you have a great time, and I can’t wait to hear how it goes! :D

  15. I love Starbucks. Of course it’s about the only coffee shop in my vicinity! I’ve had Daily Grind coffee while traveling and their latte flavors are amazing! Anyhow back to Starbucks…on a regular day I get the tall soy latte. They soy they use is vanilla so it doesn’t need additional sweetner. If I’m treating myself I love the pumpkin spice…I think I’ll take your advice and ask for it 1/2 sweet. My absolute favorite drinks are the white chocolate mocha and the espresso truffle. They are so high calorie that I only get them when I’m sick and I feel I “deserve” it! :P

    Thanks for the tips and good luck Sunday! I can’t wait to check back and see how it went! You are inspiring me to give running another try!

  16. My friend and I used to come up with the longest way to use as many words to order a coffee at Starbuck’s – I think our record was 8 words! :D

  17. That breakfast looks great!

    My standards at starbucks are usually a regular small coffee (I add in my own skim milk), or a non fat cappuccino if I’m feeling spunky. =P

    -Allison (Balance in Bites)

  18. Er, ok, that link totally didn’t work. It’s supposed to be >.<

  19. Just to say, I love the tips. Especially on the dry latte AND The remaking it. They must be nicer in Canada b/c I am scared to death all over to have a drink remade. Esp at a Starbucks I plan to go back to. It’s like if you send your food back in a restaurant you wonder if they’ll spit on it or something…well, if i couldnt see it with my own eyes, I fear S’Bucks baristas in So Cal and in AZ. They give me the evil look and sigh and huff and puff. And I am suuuuuper nice about it. When you have time, if you could possibly make this drink hotter/sweeter/etc and they freak. I want YOU as my barista Susan!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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