A Dozen Options for a Good Source of Protein at Starbucks

Protein continues to gain traction globally. Long recognized as a muscle building aid, protein’s more recent links to satiety and hunger management continue to encourage its use as more than simply a recommended part of meals.*

A beverage or food is designed as a ‘good source of protein,' if it contains at least 10 percent of the daily recommended value of protein according to the Food and Drug Administration. Kate Schenk, Starbucks regulatory and scientific affairs manager who is also a certified nutritionist, shares options at Starbucks stores that meet this standard.


Milk is often touted for its calcium content, but it is also provides protein.

“There are many dairy-based espresso drinks on our beverage menu,” said Schenk. “My personal favorite is the Flat White. I love the creamy simplicity of it – just espresso and milk.”

Flat White – An espresso beverage made with two ristretto shots, combined with a thin layer of velvety steamed whole milk and finished with a latte art dot. (12 grams of protein)

Latte Macchiato – This drink features steamed whole milk that is perfectly aerated and free-poured, creating dense foam reminiscent of meringue. It is then marked by slowly-poured full espresso shots, creating a signature espresso dot. (12 grams of protein)

Caffé Latte– Dark, rich espresso balanced with steamed milk and a light layer of foam. (12 grams of protein)

Cappuccino– Dark, rich espresso lies in wait under a smoothed and stretched layer of thick foam. (8 grams of protein)

For those preferring a cold bottled beverage option, an Evolution Fresh smoothie with a focus on protein is now available.

Protein Power Berry – Sweet and tart strawberry and raspberry juices are swirled into a creamy protein smoothie. (14 grams of protein per 8-ounce serving)


“I feel better when my plate is balanced, which means I include a little protein at every meal,” said Schenk. “Protein is an essential part of our diet, something we need every day for growth, repair and maintenance of tissues.”

Schenk’s top five food picks for breakfast, lunch or dinner include:

Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap – A whole wheat wrap filled with cage-free egg whites, spinach, feta cheese and tomatoes. (19 grams of protein)

Egg and Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich – Buttery grilled cheese with melted cheddar atop a perfectly cooked fluffy egg, served on hearty multigrain toast. (12 grams of protein)

Chicken Artichoke Panini – The iconic flavors of the thin, ancient grain flatbread are spread with signature sundried tomato pesto and topped with grilled chicken breast, tender roasted artichoke hearts and provolone cheese. (28 grams of protein)

Zesty Chicken & Black Bean Salad Bowl – A blend of grilled chicken, black beans, roasted corn, jicama, tomatoes, feta, spring greens and protein-rich quinoa is topped with a mild chili vinaigrette in this zesty choice. (19 grams of protein)

Protein Bistro Box – A hard-boiled cage-free egg, sliced tart apples, grapes and white cheddar cheese served with multigrain muesli bread and honeyed peanut butter. (13 grams of protein)


“I have found that people leave work and by the time they get home, they are ravenous and grab anything in sight, which often means crunchy, salty quick foods that are highly refined,” said Schenk. “One way to curb this pre-dinner binge is to include protein in a late afternoon snack, which can help carry you until your next meal.”

Starbucks offers a variety of pre-packaged snacks in U.S. Stores, including some that are gluten-free or vegan. Two favorite snacks are:

Classic Almonds – Pure California almonds finished with a dash of salt. (9 grams of protein)

Moon Cheese – Cheddar cheese in a crunchy format and easy to take on the go. (5 grams of protein)

*According to Protein Fever, a 2014 study by Mintel