Which Pumpkin Spice Foods Are Healthy and Which Are Calorie Bombs? The List
With more brands than ever offering plant-based foods for healthy-minded consumers, it’s no surprise that vegan pumpkin spice is everywhere this season. But, pumpkin-spice lovers beware: Calories, sugars, chemicals, and fats in these foods and beverages make them anything but healthy. So even if they are vegan, the bad stuff can add up. Still, it’s not all bad news out there. You can get your pumpkin spice fix and enjoy the taste of the season in all its glory without stepping into a bad patch, if you know what to look for on the label.
Here's your complete guide to all-things-pumpkin-spice—the goodies to indulge in and the ones to avoid, or at least consider a treat, not unlike ice cream.
Pumpkin-Spice Goodies to Indulge In, and those to Avoid or Consider a Treat
1. Pumpkin spice drinks
There is no greater signature holiday drink than the pumpkin spice latte. While both Pete’s Coffee and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf have one that can be modified to be made vegan, there is a diet downside: These tasty treats are high in sugar and can easily pack over 300 calories for a gone-before-you-know it small-sized drink. So you may want to avoid it.
(Note that if you're vegan, the infamous Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte cannot be made vegan due to the dairy pre-mixed in the pumpkin spice syrup they use.)
What to choose instead:
Instead of a store-bought latte, indulge in a brew of pumpkin spice ground coffee (which you can find on the shelves at the grocery store from Starbucks, Dunkin’, and other brands) and add a splash of Califia Farm’s Pumpkin Spice Almondmilk Creamer (only 15 calories per flavor-packed serving). And to really realize your pumpkin-spice latte dream, top your coffee off with a dollop of vegan whip cream—So Delicious makes a tasty light whip, Cocowhip Lite. You will reap the pumpkin-spice latte taste rewards for a bit of guilt-free indulgence. You can also follow this low-cal Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe made with oat milk, pumpkin puree, and syrup.
2. Pumpkin spice desserts
For those seeking a cool pumpkin-spice treat, non-dairy or vegan ice cream may be a natural go-to. You could revel in the rich and creamy Van Leeuwen vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll ice cream—which is absolutely delicious. But, the sugar and fat in a small 1/2 cup serving of this tasty concoction add up big time, so it's best to consider this an occasional treat.
What to choose instead:
For an alternative post-dinner treat, opt for Trader Joe’s Joe-Joe’s pumpkin sandwich cookies with a side of plant-based milk for dipping. These Oreo-like cookies have a crunch on the outside, with a perfectly pumpkin-spiced creamy middle. indulge in a few of these delightful cookies—two bring in just 160 calories and will leave you perfectly satisfied.
3. Pumpkin spice movie treats for spooky flicks
There’s nothing better than cozying up inside and having a sweet seasonal treat while watching a Hallmark holiday flick or favorite Netflix show. You could reach for Dayia’s Pumpkin Spice Cheezecake for your movie-watching treat, but with nearly 25 grams of fat, and 17 grams of sugar, you might want to consider an alternative.
What to choose instead:
A better movie-watching treat is a seasonal pumpkin spice popcorn. The new Pumpkin Pie Drizzled Popcorn from Safe + Fair (launching mid-October) is reminiscent of a freshly baked pumpkin pie straight from the oven. This kettle-popped, clean-label treat is sure to become a fall favorite: INDULGE…but make sure to exercise portion control. You can also INDULGE in Lesser Evil’s Pumpkin Spice Popcorn, which has just 110 calories for two cups, plus 4 grams of fiber.
4. Other health-forward pumpkin-spice goodies to indulge in as a treat
There is no shortage of innovative pumpkin-spice vegan foods that you can indulge in guilt-free. For a better-for-you pumpkin-spice inspired breakfast, try Barbara’s Puffin Pumpkin Cereal paired with an ultra-creamy plant-based like milkadamia Macadamia Milk. You’ll get a pumpkin-forward satiating breakfast that will leave you feeling good both body and mind. Another item to indulge in is PBfit’s Pumpkin Spice Powdered Peanut Butter. The powdered nut butter contains 7 grams of protein and 90 percent less fat and one-third of the calories of regular peanut butter.
Then of course there is good old pumpkin itself, which is high in fiber and works well as a roasted vegetable, like squash. Pumpkin seeds are high in protein, so roast them with a touch of oil and salt, and enjoy 12 grams of protein in a cup of seeds.
What pumpkin spice vegan goodies are you getting into this season? Post your image and tag @thebeet on Instagram or Facebook and let us know!