Walking Guide

Food on the Run: Caribou Coffee

By , SparkPeople Blogger
When I want a coffee treat on my way to work, I have two easy choices on my way. I can turn left into a Starbucks or if the line is long, I can turn right into a Caribou Coffee. Caribou Coffee houses are currently only in about half of the states and are predominantly found throughout the eastern and mid-western portions of the country so it may not be an option you are familiar with right now. Considering a Starbucks seems to show up next to a Caribou or vice-versa around here, chances are you might very soon. If you are a big Keurig fan, you may have seen the name on one of their K-Cup options.

In addition to coffee drinks and sweet pastries, Caribou has recently increased their breakfast and lunch offerings most likely to compete with the new Starbucks Bistro Boxes. Here is a quick guide to some of the better options to select next time you find the line to the right shorter than the line to the left.

If you crave more than just plain coffee but don't want the high fat, high calorie cost, try Northern Lite options. Most small sizes are under 200 calories and less than 6 grams of fat while also teasing your taste buds and providing some calcium and protein at the same time. They also work well when you need something cold too!

Breakfast and Early Day Options
Although the scones, muffins (the Low Fat Triple Berry is the best muffin option), coffee cakes, and donuts are tempting, the hot oatmeal is your best option. A standard serving provides about 260 calories of whole grain oats including 7 grams of fiber with only 2.5 grams of fat. You cannot go wrong if you are watching your sodium either since a serving only contains about 170 mg of sodium along with 15 grams of protein. One reason for these great nutritional numbers is the multigrain oat blend used containing oats, barley, spelt, rye, triticale, and wheat. Of course, the more "fun stuff" you add to the basic cereal, the higher the calories, fat and sodium in addition to the fiber and protein.

Maple Brown Sugar Crunch Oatmeal
Calories – 320
Fat – 4 grams
Sodium – 200 mg
Carbohydrates – 57 grams
Fiber – 7 grams
Protein – 15 grams

Very Berry Oatmeal
Calories – 440
Fat – 8 grams
Sodium – 220 mg
Carbohydrates – 78 grams
Fiber – 10 grams
Protein – 17 grams

Blueberry Almond Oatmeal
Calories – 370
Fat – 8 grams
Sodium – 220 mg
Carbohydrates – 61 grams
Fiber – 9 grams
Protein – 17 grams

If a sandwich is more to your breakfast liking, a couple Bou Breakfast sandwiches make better choices than others do.
Egg White and Turkey Bacon Daybreaker
Calories – 330
Fat – 17 grams
Sodium – 510 mg
Carbohydrates – 31 grams
Fiber – 2 grams
Protein – 13 grams
Turkey Bacon Mini
Calories – 180
Fat – 8 grams
Sodium – 390 mg
Carbohydrates – 18 grams
Fiber – 1 gram
Protein – 9 grams
Lunch and Later Day Options
Since America's Next Great Restaurant show debuted, the adult grilled cheese sandwich has become very popular. Caribou has joined in too with their new Grown-Up Grilled Cheese sandwiches.  There is a focus on wholesome, nutrient rich ingredients like roasted turkey, grilled chicken breast, roasted vegetables, and Wisconsin cheese. However, with whole milk cheese comes an increase in the fat, sodium and calorie content as well. For example, the Three Cheese Classic sandwich will provide 60 percent of daily calcium needs but it comes with 25 grams of total fat, 14 grams of which are saturated as well as 800 mg of sodium.
Gouda Turkey Pesto
Calories – 510
Fat – 24 grams
Sodium – 1,180 mg
Carbohydrates – 46 grams
Fiber – 2 grams
Protein – 29 grams
Calcium – 50 % daily value
Italian Chicken Melt Sandwich
Calories – 470
Fat – 21 grams
Sodium – 990 mg
Carbohydrates – 41 grams
Fiber – 7 grams
Protein – 35 grams
Calcium – 50 % daily value
Aged Cheddar Roast Sandwich
Calories – 490
Fat – 23 grams
Sodium – 1,020 mg
Carbohydrates – 46 grams
Fiber – 2 grams
Protein – 27 grams
Calcium – 35 % daily value
If you like to support socially responsible companies, especially coffee shops that support the sustainable production of coffee, this brand might be one for you to check out next time the other lines are long.
Have you ever tried Caribou coffee? How often do you pick up a sandwich or food item with your coffee purchase?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


Great! Report
Thank you for including the sodium. So many of us need that information. Report
Definitely miss the Caribou coffee in the Baltimore area now that I live in Texas. MUCH nicer blends than Starbucks. However, I drink my coffee black, and rarely order a "goodie," though I vaguely recall that selection to be rather limited -- just like Starbucks.
I love caribou...unfortunately all their sandwhiches have trans fats in them! Just a warning to those of you who haven't scrutinized the menu/nutrition facts. I'll stick to a drink and maybe the oatmeal :/ Report
Being originally from Minnesota, gotta say I love Caribou. I wish there were more in the Pittsburgh area Report
I have been to Caribou a few times, I don't really care for Starbucks. I like my Keurig Caribou best. Report
Oh how I miss me some Caribou! Report
Definitely prefer Caribou over Starbucks, especially for simply delicious plain-black piping hot java. However, Caribou is not in my current geographic region. Never ate anything from there that I recall.... just sat and sipped wonderful coffee & enjoyed the company of my husband during our occasional coffee-escape-dates :) Report
The only time I encounter Caribou is at airports--good to know they offer healthy choices--better than most 'fly food.' Report
Cool! At our last Northern Virginia Sparkers meet-up (at a Caribou shop), we were curious about the nutritional info. Thanks for posting! Report
It's funny that you ask that question because yesterday was my first time buying a bistro box from Starbucks and I loved it! There are no Caribou's in my western state but I went to Caribou in NC and like it. I'm not a big coffee drinker at all so for me, it's only 6 or 7 times a year that I step into a coffee house. But again, now that I've discovered the bistro box. I will probably go a little more often. Report
Maybe I just don't see the draw. The cost of these coffees are exorbitant, but then I drink my coffee black so it has to be good...which most of the basic coffees are not are they are over-roasted to accommodate the junk in them. Two cups of coffee pays for enough good beans for a week of coffee.

As for the the breakfast options...the sodiums are way too high..and homemade oatmeal is so easy to make! Only 2 minutes in the microwave! Report
I too drink my coffee at home or at the office. I have found a huge selection plus other sugar free and low calorie drink options at my favorite website discountcoffee .com. Check out the Sugar Free Apple Cider drink mix. A Wow! Report
There's a Caribou INSIDE my Lifetime Fitness center. Makes it easy to pick up a cup after my workout, before work (when I worked).
I usually make a pot of coffee and put it in a thermos- but when I forget, Caribou is my GO-TO!
Glad to see their offering different food now. When I was working and needed an afternoon pick me up, I would often stop at Caribou for a coffee and then go to Subway to pick up a sandwich. Good to know I can just make one stop now. And smart for Caribou to capitalize on that idea. Report
We have a coffee pot, water filter and cups in our kitchen. Would never dream of paying a150% markup for it. No amount of friendliness or smiles can save my money for other things. I love my coffee and tea. Report
Caribou have outlets in Dubai :-)
I've tried their version of a coffee frescato and it was very nice. I tried a Starbucks Frappucino ( I think that's what they're called) once and hated it. They add vanilla ice-cream to their cold coffee drinks, Yuck!!
My regular in Dubai though is a Costa Coffee Frescato, but I would recommend Caribou too :-) Report
Big fan of Caribou here. I don't get coffee often, but they have tasty coffee Report
Have never heard of Caribou Coffee, but glad Starbucks has some competition! Report
I love Caribou! I drink black decaf, no flavored drinks, and their coffee is wonderful. Report
I'm a Caribou fan. We go there at least twice a week. Haven't had any of the food things except on rare occasions a bakery item. Like the atmosphere and you get to know th people there. Good place. Report
We don't have Caribou Coffee houses here, but I can buy Caribou coffee at my local grocery stores. I can brew my own great tasting coffee at home and save on the temptation of those pastries and other foods! Report
Caribou coffee is my absolute favorite place to get coffee. I love the ambiance of the place and I love their coffees. I usually get black coffee of the day but I also get the sugar-free Northern lite lattes. I go to Caribou at least once a week to meet a friend, where we sit and talk for hours. I don't usually get any food their but I have had a piece of their gouda turkey sandwich and it was great. Report
All the baristas at Caribou know my husband's name and order. He works from there a lot! But, my favorite are the brown sugar crunch oatmeal and the cinnamon tea. Delish! Report
Since I have the Gene for tasting Bitter, I hate coffee. Report
I like their coffee & tea (and fireplaces!), but their food choices are too limited for me... so I prefer starbucks.

All the Caribou food is very high-carb: cookies, scones, sandwiches. Starbucks has those too, but adds lettuce wraps and a protein plate, as well as other hummus & cheese plates. Caribou should consider adding a few things for us folks who don't eat lots of processed starchy foods. Report
I love Caribou! I no longer live near one. I have a Keirug so I make my own. Myan Black Onyx is my favorite with whipped topping and cinnamon on top. I also love to bake so I'm always making some healthy muffin or bread for sandwiches. Report
I love Caribou...unfortunately I'm in a small town with no Caribou, no Starbucks either. I've learned how to love my own coffee, which also happens to be cheaper and lower in calories. Report
This was a very informative blog. Breakfast is my toughest to find variety ... Usually it's McD's Oatmean without the brown sugarm but that gets boring. I have a Keurig coffee and am going to give Caribu a try. Thanks. Report
LOVE Caribou! It is my favorite coffee house. I feel like 'Norm' from Cheers when I walk in - they really make an effort to know their regulars. I'm a faithful Northern Lite Latte Caramel girl. Thanks for talking them up! Report
Walking Guide
Close email sign up
Our best articles, delivered Join the millions of people already subscribed Get a weekly summary of our diet and fitness advice We will never sell, rent or redistribute your email address.

Magic Link Sent!

A magic link was sent to Click on that link to login. The link is only good for 24 hours.