Before the leaves even hit the ground, the smell of pumpkin spice fills the air. From famous coffee drinks to unlikely goodies from creative manufacturers, pumpkin spice has become a cultural hit that signifies the arrival of fall. Many of the most popular foods featuring pumpkin spice as a flavor option are filled with high amounts of sugar. For people with sugar intolerance, diabetes, or just watching sugar intake, it can feel like missing out on one of life’s joys. But it doesn’t have to. Take a look at the best and the worst pumpkin-spice fall treats.
Pumpkin-Spice Sugar Bombs
- Pumpkin-spice lattes. While pumpkin spice, itself, is actually a healthy combination of spices, pumpkin-spice lattes from Starbucks and other coffee shops often include artificial ingredients, high amounts of fat, and enough sugar for an entire week! A 16-ounce Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte has 50 grams of sugar.
- Pumpkin-spice baked goods. Pumpkin-spice flavored doughnuts, cookies, cakes, and other baked goods contain more than the usual amount of sugar as well as many artificial ingredients.
- Packaged cookies. Milano pumpkin spice or pumpkin-spiced Oreo’s are huge sugar bombs that pack tons of sugar into a small serving.
- Pumpkin-spice cream cheese. Bagels and cream cheese aren’t the healthiest breakfast choice in the first place thanks to the high quantity of empty carbs. The addition of the pumpkin-spice flavor just adds additional sugar.
- Pumpkin-spice liqueur. Kahlua and other pumpkin-spice liqueurs contain nearly all of the daily dietary sugar and over 200 calories in a single serving.
Pumpkin-Spice Safe Bets
- Pumpkin-spice nuts. Flavored nuts offer a savory and satisfying snack with minimal sugar. A small handful will satiate your craving.
- Goat cheese with pumpkin spice. For a great alternative to cream cheese, goat cheese offers a creamy and sugar-free way to enjoy pumpkin spice. You can spread it on a bagel or toast or enjoy it as a dip.
- Protein bars. While many protein bars feature pumpkin spice as a seasonal flavor, they also pack a hefty spoonful of sugar into each bite. RX Bars use only natural ingredients and contain minimal sugar sourced naturally from dates rather than added sugar. If you are looking for a protein bar, read the label carefully.
- Pumpkin-spiced cereals. For a cereal fix, try Pumpkin Spice Cheerios or Barbara’s Pumpkin Puffins for a crunchy sweet take on pumpkin spice that isn’t a complete sugar bomb.
When in doubt, read the labels of pumpkin-spice flavored products. Look for low-sugar versions or try making your own treats using pumpkin spice and sugar substitutes.