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The healthiest Costa Coffee options


Eating out at cafes is an enjoyable social experience that you shouldn’t have to miss out on for the sake of your health journey. Many people worry that going to restaurants or cafes always means overindulging, however, it is possible to eat healthily when eating out.

Costa Coffee is one of the nation’s favourite coffee shops and offers a comfortable space ideal for working or socialising in. Amongst muffins, croissants, and paninis, there are some healthier alternatives when you find yourself eating there.

It is also completely ok to enjoy a sweet treat when you really want one. The important thing is that this isn’t a frequent indulgence, and you focus on finding the motivation to get back to your healthy habits afterwards.

Science suggests that a reduced carbohydrate diet is the most effective diet for weight loss. Lower-carb diets are particularly effective for those who struggle with blood glucose control (e.g. people with type 2 diabetes). On top of this, eating plenty of non-starchy vegetables (e.g. broccoli or peppers), protein (e.g. meat or fish), and healthy fats (e.g. olive oil or nuts) has many health benefits.

To save you time and stress, the registered nutritionists here at Second Nature have gone through the Costa Coffee menu and nutritional information and picked out some healthier options. Not all the options are strictly low-carb, but provide the best-balanced meals on offer. Vegetarian options are marked with a (v).

Lower-carb meals

If weight loss is your goal, the best option is: 

  • Chicken and bacon Caesar salad + natural mixed nuts packet

This healthy meal will leave you satisfied and can be included as part of a lower-carb eating plan. 

For vegetarians, the lower-carb options are more limited. We recommend:

  • Feta and quinoa salad + natural mixed nuts packet (v)

Although slightly higher in carbohydrates, this salad is still a healthy option. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine of our essential amino acids. Combined with the feta, this salad has plenty of protein which will help to keep you fuller for longer, plus more fruit and vegetables than sandwich based options. 

Higher-carb meals

These options are all balanced meals but are slightly higher in carbohydrate content:

  1. Tuna melt panini (v)
  2. Free range egg mayo sandwich (v)
  3. Chicken fajita wrap
  4. Mozzarella and tomato panini
  5. Vegan BBQ Chick’n panini (v)
  6. Smoked salmon and soft cheese sandwich

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Lower-carb snacks

  1. Natural mixed nuts packet (v)
  2. Protein nut mix (v)


Once you have chosen a balanced meal or snack, bear in mind that many drinks contain hidden sugars that would dramatically increase the carb content of your meal. Many of the drinks are close to or exceed the maximum recommended daily allowance (RDA) of sugar in the UK (30g). Here are some examples:

  1. White hot chocolate (medio size): 34.3g sugar (over the max RDA)
  2. Mango and passion fruit cooler (medio size): 32.4g sugar (over the max RDA)

To keep your meal lower-carb opt for:

  1. Water
  2. Cappuccino, latte, flat white, espresso, or Americano coffee without sugar (try to avoid drinking caffeine after lunchtime as it can reduce the quality of your sleep
  3. Herbal teas

Take home message

  • Enjoy a croissant, muffin, or panini when you really want one, then focus on staying motivated to return to healthy habits afterwards.
  • Reduced carb diets seem to be the most effective for weight loss.
  • If you don’t want to indulge, there are a number of healthier, lower-carb options you can order.
  • Be mindful of drinks that contain hidden sugars.


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