It’s September, and whether you like it or not, that officially makes it pumpkin spice season. Once you’ve 'grammed your first PSL of the year, take a seat for some shocking nutrition math. One grande pumpkin spice latte clocks in at 380 calories and 50 grams of sugar, meaning if you treat yourself to one a day, you could be looking at an extra 2660 calories each week- an amount that can easily lead to a 3 pounds of weight gain each month.
The reality is, most other pumpkin spice-flavored snacks on store shelves aren’t much better. A quick peek at the back nutrition panels reveals that most are filled with artificial flavors and colors, sickly sweet syrups, and vegetable oils. They’re low in satiating fiber, protein, and good fats, and are loaded with added sugar. And most importantly, they don’t even have any real pumpkin inside!
Save the calories and check out our list of better-for-you pumpkin eats. We’ve compiled some of our favorite dietitian-approved pumpkin spice snacks and treats to help you crush those festive cravings.
Made with real pumpkin puree, no artificial flavors or colors, and only 110 calories per serving, this seasonal cereal is destined to become part of our morning ritual. Serve it with yogurt or milk, or just double fist the stuff right out of the box as a snack. Hey, we don’t judge!
Forget the double pumps of sickly sweet syrup. These limited-batch pumpkin spice bars actually have real pumpkin in them, along with nourishing whole nuts. With only 5 grams of sugar (that’s half of the average bar!) and without any sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners, this is a pumpkin snack you can actually feel good about.
For fewer calories than a basic latte, you can have an entire pint of pumpkin-flavored ice cream (with real pie pieces, to boot!) Thank you, Halo Top, for making our dreams come true and delivering an impressive 20 grams of protein in every 360-calorie pint. Get it before the pumpkin spice season is over!
Need your pumpkin spice caffeine fix but want to skip the 380-calorie commitment? We got you. This pumpkin spice chai tea is the perfect blend of aromatic chai spices with just enough pumpkin kick. Serve it with a little steamed almond milk for a low-cal latte alternative.($11, 20-count; amazon.com)
Rich, creamy, and pumpkiny, this 100-percent plant-based cheesecake is free of dairy, gluten, and soy, so it’s an addictive pumpkin spice treat for the masses. Serve it to holiday guests with dietary restrictions or just keep one on hand for your own personal pumpkin fix. (They'll be hitting stores later this month, Sept. '18)($8.99; daiyafoods.com)
Full Disclosure: The author does occasional ambassador work with a few of these brands, but she genuinely believes they're awesome products, and man, there are so few actually healthy pumpkin spice foods out there!