When leaves change hues, it’s officially #PSL season.
Love pumpkin spice lattes? You’re not alone. In the first decade after its launch in 2003, Forbes reports that Starbucks sold about 200 million of the spiced drink.
One PSL to celebrate the start of the autumn season is totally fine, but you might want to reconsider making this drink a daily addiction. A grande (medium) pumpkin spice latte with 2 percent milk contains 380 calories and 50 grams (!!) of sugar, according to the official Starbucks nutritional information.
FYI, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 25 grams of sugar for the entire day for women, or 36 grams a day for men. That means one grande PSL has *double* the recommended sugar for the day, all contained in one ubiquitous paper cup. In other words, it’s dessert.
Luckily, if you love the spiced pumpkin flavor, lattes aren’t the only way to enjoy the trend. Here are healthier pumpkin spice food ideas to get your fix this fall.
1. Pumpkin spice energy truffles.
These are super simple to make. Combine dates, pecans, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie spices in a food processor until it forms a crumbly paste. Adding oats is another way to add fiber and whole-grain goodness.
Then, roll them into bite-sized balls with your hands. If you want, you can roll them in crushed pecans for even more fun. Check out this recipe for pumpkin energy balls from Two Peas and Their Pod.
2. Pumpkin spice oatmeal.
Autumn is the perfect season for oatmeal, so why not combine porridge with your favorite fall flavor? Pumpkin puree amps up your porridge with vitamin A, fiber, and potassium. Learn more about the health benefits of pumpkin here.
Oats, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie spices make a great, high-fiber breakfast. If you want, you can also add instant coffee granules to get a PSL experience in a bowl. Find out how to make pumpkin spice oatmeal from A Pinch of Healthy.
3. Pumpkin spice trail mix.
Whether you want a portable snack for your hike to enjoy the fall foliage, or just an after-dinner treat, this pumpkin spice trail mix will provide mega flavor. Trail mix might not be “low calorie,” but it gives nourishment with complex carbs, healthy fats, and plant-based proteins.
Combine nuts, seeds (especially pepitas, which are pumpkin seeds), and dried cranberries, and toss with a pumpkin spice glaze. Check out this recipe for pumpkin spice trail mix by Cotter Crunch. (Omit the chocolate chips in the recipe to reduce the sugar content further.)
4. Pumpkin spice smoothie.
Smoothies are often reserved for tropical fruits and berries, but there’s no reason pumpkin can’t get involved. (And BTW, pumpkin is technically a fruit as well.)
An easy smoothie idea is to combine banana, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spices, and vanilla extract. If you want a thicker smoothie, try using frozen bananas, which will result in a thick milkshake-like consistency. Add low-fat milk, soy milk, or low-fat yogurt for extra calcium and protein.
5. Pumpkin spice yogurt parfait.
Many yogurt brands are now offering pumpkin-flavored yogurt, but you can save some sugar by making your own parfait at home. Choose low-fat yogurt to reduce your intake of saturated fat, which can increase the risk for heart disease, according to the AHA.
Mix together pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract, and then layer with low-fat, unsweetened yogurt. If desired, top with some pumpkin seed granola or crushed nuts. Check out this recipe for pumpkin spice yogurt parfait from It’s Yummi.
6. Pumpkin spice muffins.
Be careful here: Muffins often tend to be low in fiber and high in sugar, which is a recipe for a blood sugar spike and upset stomach. Look for whole-grain and low-sugar recipes to make your muffins a little easier on your body.
A combo of whole-wheat flour, oats, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and pecans make a hearty and delicious muffin. Find out how to make pumpkin spice muffins here.
With these food ideas, you’ll turn your PSL into a PSE: pumpkin spice everything. If you’re still hankering for a PSL, check out these tips to make your festive drink a little lighter.
Oh, and don’t forget to fill your autumn months with other in-season foods. Here are 6 healthy fall foods (besides pumpkin) to get excited about.
4 fall foods for your family. Chicago, IL: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2017. (Accessed on August 26, 2019 at https://www.eatright.org/food/planning-and-prep/cooking-tips-and-trends/4-fall-foods-for-your-family.)
Added sugars. Dallas, TX: American Heart Association. (Accessed on August 26, 2019 at https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/added-sugars.)
Breakfast: eating healthy on the run. Dallas, TX: American Heart Association. (Accessed on August 26, 2019 at https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/cooking-skills/preparing/breakfast-eating-healthy-on-the-run.)
Dairy products - milk, yogurt, and cheese. Dallas, TX: American Heart Association. (Accessed on August 26, 2019 at https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/dairy-products-milk-yogurt-and-cheese.)
Have a fun and healthier birthday party. Chicago, IL: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2017. (Accessed on August 26, 2019 at https://www.eatright.org/health/lifestyle/holidays/have-a-fun-and-healthier-birthday-party.)
No-bake coconut truffles recipe. Chicago, IL: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2018. (Accessed on August 26, 2019 at https://www.eatright.org/food/planning-and-prep/recipes/no-bake-coconut-truffles-recipe.)
Pumpkin spice latte. Seattle, WA: Starbucks. (Accessed on August 26, 2019 at https://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/espresso/pumpkin-spice-latte.)