Nutrition / Recipes

5 Healthy Alternatives to That Sugary Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin spice up your life!

One of the most exciting parts about fall is getting your hands on that first pumpkin-flavored latte. Who could resist a warm cup of sweet and spiced pumpkin coffee? Unfortunately, if you’re trying to stay healthy, a regular pumpkin spice drink may not be your best bet—that is, unless you’re willing to make your own versions at home. Traditional pumpkin spice lattes come laden with sugar and artificial flavors. So, treat them as, well, treats, instead of a daily pick-me-up.

If you can’t skip a daily pumpkin fix, though, there are plenty of healthy drinks that can be made with just a few ingredients and real pumpkin puree. You can even go beyond coffee and explore pumpkin-filled smoothies or hot cocoa. With a few tweaks, you can make a healthier pumpkin drink that won’t set off a sugar crash later. Here are five pumpkin spice latte alternatives you can make yourself.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

If you want to stick to the classic latte, try this recipe from chef and registered dietitian nutritionist Julie Andrews, M.S., R.D.N., C.D. It’s made with a few simple ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry, which means this pumpkin latte is going to be as clean as can be. You can also swap out coffee for chai if you prefer to make this a tea latte.

Ingredients (serves 1)

8 ounces coffee
4 ounces vanilla almond or soy milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a small pot. Mix well, and heat.

Oat Milk Pumpkin Spice Chai With Vanilla and Ginger

This low-sugar pumpkin spice chai latte from chef Natasha Feldman is sweetened with a bit of honey and the naturally occurring sugar from oat milk. Oat milk is a great alternative for holiday drinks or tea lattes because it froths almost as well as regular milk while being a dairy-free option. Most chai latte recipes contain a large amount of sugar, but a slightly spicy chai is a healthier option, especially with the addition of pumpkin.

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 chai tea bags
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 cup unsweetened oat milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon honey (feel free to use more if you want a sweet chai)

Directions

  1. Steep 2 tea bags in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes.
  2. Add pumpkin pie spice, ginger, vanilla, and honey. Remove tea bags, and stir vigorously. Strain tea to catch any clumped pie spice or larger pieces of ginger.
  3. Pour into 2 cups, and top with hot oat milk. Using a milk frother is recommended, or you can heat the milk in the microwave or in a small pot on the stove.

Golden Pumpkin Latte

Turmeric has been quite the “it” spice lately, and you can kick your trendy golden turmeric latte up a notch by adding in some pumpkin. This caffeine-free drink, by registered dietitian Mascha Davis, M.P.H., R.D., is not only soothing but also great for your immune system.

Ingredients (serves 1)

8 ounces your choice of unsweetened milk
1 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon canned pumpkin

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, heat your choice of milk over low heat until just simmering.
  2. Once simmering, turn off heat. With a wire whisk, vigorously mix in turmeric, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, and pumpkin. If you own a milk frother, use it to create some foam on top of the milk. Slowly pour into mug.

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

If you like to enjoy a daily morning smoothie, you’ll want to try this pumpkin spice one from Yovana Mendoza, also known as Rawvana. This creamy smoothie is sweetened with a date, and although it’s made with natural ingredients, you may find yourself craving it for dessert.

Ingredients (serves 1)

1 frozen banana
⅓ cup pumpkin puree
1 date
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup almond milk

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

If you still want a classic cozy drink without all the caffeine of coffee or tea, try this soothing recipe, also from Mendoza. This hot chocolate is sweetened with only stevia, and it’s made with real cocoa, a great alternative to traditional store-bought hot chocolate.

Ingredients (serves 1)

¼ cup pumpkin puree
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon cocoa or cacao powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 packet of stevia or 3 drops of stevia extract
Pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a small pot. Mix well, and heat.

With this roundup of healthy recipes, you can keep up the pumpkin spice habit all season—or year!—long.

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