Sales of pumpkin spice products are at an all-time high! Pumpkin-flavored dog food, pumpkin spice coffee creamer, Pop-Tarts, pre-sweetened cereals, pancake mix — is there anything that doesn’t come in pumpkin spice flavor these days? If you love pumpkin spice flavor, you might be wondering whether all the pumpkin spice treats are good for you. We’ve compared a selection of this year’s pumpkin spice offerings in terms of sugar, protein, and fiber, and we found some healthier ways to enjoy pumpkin spice.
Some of us wait for it all year, but a grande pumpkin spice latte with skim milk gives us a week’s worth of sugar (based on World Health Organization recommendations for adults). Yikes. It does offer significant protein, thanks to the milk. However, if you choose soy milk, the protein content goes down to 5 grams.
Pumpkin spice flavored coffee or tea without the whipped cream is a healthier option. Let the classic PSL be an occasional special treat!
As expected, a snack cake is not a healthy option. A Hostess pumpkin spice twinkie contains a whole lot of sugar, no fiber, and very little protein. Little Debbie’s pumpkin spice cake rolls are comparable, with 26 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, and no fiber. A Starbucks pumpkin cream cheese muffin has 47 grams of sugar, 6 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber. Pumpkin spice Pop-Tarts may actually be the winner in the pumpkin spice pastries group, with 14 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fiber.
Two pumpkin spice Milano cookies give you negligible fiber and protein and just one day’s worth of sugar. This is a treat you can work into a healthy eating plan. Keebler’s pumpkin spice fudge stripes cookies also have 10 grams of sugar, but 0 grams each of fiber and protein. Pumpkin cookie mixes and store-brand pumpkin spice cookies have similar sugar, protein, and fiber content.
There are several options for pumpkin spice cereal this year, and none of them are a nutritional powerhouse. Pumpkin spice instant oatmeal from Quaker has 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, but it also packs 11 grams of sugar. Pumpkin spice cheerios offer 2 grams each of protein and fiber, and 8 grams of sugar. Pumpkin spice Special K provides 9 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber. These cereals are decent treats, but are not that much better than a cookie.
You can find that pumpkin spice scent and flavor in lower sugar foods. For example, Thomas makes pumpkin spice english muffins that have more protein than sugar. Pumpkin spice Triscuits have 3 grams each of protein and fiber with just 1 gram of sugar. Planters pumpkin spice almonds have 5 grams of sugar, 5 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber. Chobani pumpkin spice yogurt has 12 grams of sugar (right up there with cookies), but 12 grams of protein as well. Terra Sweet Potato chips come in pumpkin spice flavor, and they have 4 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fiber. One tablespoon of Philadelphia pumpkin spice cream cheese has just 2.3 grams of sugar and less than one gram each of protein and fiber. You can incorporate these foods into your day more often this season!
The Healthiest Option:
Actual fresh pumpkin! A full cup contains 2 grams of natural sugar, 2 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber — it’s a healthy choice. Roast pumpkin chunks at 300 degrees in your oven. Add an inch of hot water to the bottom of your baking dish, or drizzle with olive oil. For the full pumpkin spice experience, sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice, which contains no sugar!