• Jessica Bussey, Senior Writer

Starbucks: A Healthy Pick-Me-Up

I don't know about you, but around this time of year, all of the days just seem to run together. The initial excitement of the new semester has worn off, my brain is starting to really need a vacation, and I’m literally counting down the days until Thanksgiving break. Sound familiar? Sometimes, the stress of this time of year can be such a downer. However, I’ve found that having a little pick-me-up from time to time can really help me get through the day in one piece.

We are extremely fortunate to have tons of healthy options on campus; Starbucks has some great selections of their own to help you grind through the day and make sure you stay on point all the way through finals. It’s conveniently located, too! (Right next to the library, where you’re probably spending the majority of your time these days anyways.)

My personal favorite is the Classic Whole-Grain Oatmeal. It’s a full serving of whole grains (a blend of rolled and steel-cut oats), as well as a good source of fiber to help keep you full. The classic oatmeal comes with toppings of mixed nuts, dried fruit, and brown sugar. For the healthiest bang for your buck, skip the brown sugar. You’ll have plenty of natural and good-for-you sweetness from the fruit. My favorite trick is to top it off with a little shake of cinnamon (located near the milk and creamer) for an extra burst of flavor!

For a lighter option, try the Egg White & Red Pepper Sous Vide Egg Bites. In case you don’t know -- because I didn’t either -- sous vide (pronounced “sue-veed”) is a French technique similar to poaching, but with precise temperature control and longer cook times. These eggs have a soft and velvety texture with an added bonus of spinach, Monterey Jack cheese, and fire-roasted red peppers. They’re bite-sized for the ultimate healthy convenience. With 13 grams of protein and only 170 calories, they’re a great option for a nutritious snack. And if you love a spicy kick to your eggs like I do, pick up a packet of sriracha too!

Starbucks also has an array of healthy grab-and-go options. Fresh fruit always makes a healthy snack choice, and there are almost always fresh bananas available. If you need something to save for a little later, Starbucks also carries "That’s it." fruit bars, which are made with only two ingredients, and that’s it! (Get it?) My favorites are the Apple + Blueberries and the Apple + Mango. They’re such an easy way to get two servings of fruit per day and only 100 calories each.

Yogurt is another quick and easy choice for a healthy pick-me-up. It’s high in protein and calcium, and it also contains probiotics, which are live bacterial cultures that are beneficial to your digestive health. Starbucks carries Siggi’s, a Scandinavian brand dedicated to using simple ingredients, minimal sugar, and no artificial sweeteners. Their vanilla yogurt is sweetened with organic agave nectar and offers 15 grams of protein with 9 grams of sugar and only 110 calories.

Sometimes, though, despite my best efforts, I still find myself rushing out of the house without lunch and looking for more than just a snack during the day. Starbucks has quite an array of sandwich options, but most of them pack more than 30% of the Recommended Daily Value of sodium. But thankfully, the Tomato and Mozzarella panini isn’t quite that high. Served on toasted focaccia, with layers of roasted tomatoes, gooey mozzarella, fresh spinach, and an herb-y basil pesto, you’ll love the tasty, nutritious boost it adds to your day. Enjoy it on the go or sit in the loft, re-charge your batteries (both the literal and metaphorical ones) and prep for your next academic adventure.

Regardless of your preferences, Starbucks has a wide variety of options for healthy snacks, and even a few heavier choices for a more satisfying meal. And when it comes to beverages, less is more. Opt for a simple drip coffee (I love the Pike’s Place roast!) and simply add milk or sweetener if needed. Although the fancier drinks can definitely offer a quick sugar rush, making healthier selections will help to ward off the crash later. Just remember that even though this time of year may really be getting hectic, it’s important to take the time to properly nourish your body and mind. Making smart decisions about your food choices can not only impact your energy level, but also your ability to focus and maintain your momentum until finals are over!

Until next time, Stay Healthy Ospreys!

- Jessica

For full nutrition information, visit https://www.starbucks.com/menu.

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UNF Dining Services' Dietitian

Email Yemila: y.lowry@unf.edu

Bldg 8/1210-J

1 UNF Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32224