Fall is in the air!  The kids are back in school, leaves are changing colors, nights are cool, I’m wearing boots, and pumpkin is all over the freakin place.  Coffee drinks, muffins, pies, cookies, booze, you name it and someone is going to pumpkin it up.  And why not?  Pumpkin is awesome.  Its delicious, smells fantastic, and its really quite good for you (lots of fiber, alpha and beta carotene, potassium, and magnesium just to name a few nutritional benefits).

Unfortunately, a lot of the pumpkin stuff hitting the shelves isn’t made with real pumpkin, its pumpkin flavored, so you’re missing out on all the health benefits and getting a sugary syrup; even the stuff that does real pumpkin is pretty bad for you, wah wah.  Listen, I know you want to eat and drink everything pumpkin you can get your mitts on, and I totally get it, just do me a favor and read this before you do.

Lattes:

People go bananas for Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes (honorable mention to Dunkin’ Donuts).  I’m willing to bet every single one of you has had “Yay Pumpkin Spice Lattes” in one way or another pop up in you Facebook newsfeed in the last three weeks.  Beware little chickens, the Pumpkin Spice Latte will mess your diet up.  A sixteen ounce Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte with two percent milk and whip clocks in at 380 calories, 13 grams of fat (about a quarter of your daily allowance), and 49 grams of sugar (the American Heart Assocation recommends keeping your sugar intake at 30 grams or below, so much for that).  Dunks is no better, a medium pumpkin latte with skim has 330 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 50 grams of sugar.  And these are the lower fat, “healthier” versions, but don’t worry, I won’t completely horrify you by posting the stats for the lattes made with cream, shudder. A healthier alternative? This Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte. Or, if you can’t break your Starbucks addiction, try these healthier Starbucks choices. 

Baked Goods:

How good does a coffee shop smell with freshly baked pumpkin goodies on the counter?  So good you’ll wanna slap your mama (that’s a thing, right?).  What’s not so good are the nutritional numbers for pumpkin treats, brace yourselves.  A Starbucks pumpkin cream cheese muffin is 340 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 28 grams of sugar; while a pumpkin scone is a diet killing 480 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 43 grams of sugar.  Dunkin Donuts baked goods are even worse.  The pumpkin donut has 360 calories, 21 grams of fat, and 20 grams of sugar, and if the Starbucks scone kills your diet, the Dunks pumpkin muffin kills your diet and then does a little jig on its carcass, it has 550 calories, 24 grams of fat, and 41 grams of sugar.  So basically if you indulge in a pumpkin latte and a pumpkin muffin you can’t eat for another three days.

Now don’t worry, I’m not all pumpkin doom and gloom.  I said right in the first paragraph how tasty real pumpkin is and how good it is for you.  And to prove it here are some totally tasty pumpkin recipes, enjoy!

Frozen Pumpkin Latte:

  • 8-10 oz. of cold brewed pumpkin flavored coffee
  • 1-2 scoops of vanilla protein powder (follow the powder’s directions, 1 scoop or 2)*
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Ice

Throw everything in a blender, blend and enjoy.

Vanilla Pumpkin Milkshake

  • 8-10 oz. almond milk
  • 1-2 scoops vanilla protein poweder*
  • ¼ cup frozen canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)**
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Ice

Once again, throw everything in a blender, blend and enjoy

Blue Ribbon Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal:

  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats (more or less depending on your meal plan)
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 2-4 egg whites (personal preference)
  • 2 dates chopped (optional, if you really want to go wild add some organic dark chocolate chips instead of the dates)
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup of water (if you use more or less oats the amount of water you use is 2x the oats you use)
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • a couple shakes of cinnamon and/or pumpkin pie spice
  1. Pre heat over to 350.
  2. Combine all ingredients, bake for 30 minutes.

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder*
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup + 2 tbs of water
  • a couple dashes of cinnamon and/or pumpkin pie spice
  • sweetener of your choice in amount of your personal preference (try the batter with none and then sweeten as needed)
  1. Throw everything in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Heat a griddle or skillet, spray with nonstick spray (if needed) and pour about ¼ cup of batter for eat pancake.
  3. Flip when the top bubbles and edges look done (disclaimer I can not flip a protein pancake to save my life).  Try topping with agave nectar, they even make a maple flavored one.

Pumpkin Sausage Penne (from Busy Girl Healthy Life)

  • 1 lb. crumbled turkey sausage, cooked
  • 1 medium diced onion
  • 2 tbs minced garlic
  • 4 oz. canned sliced mushrooms
  • 3/5 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 15 oz. canned pumpkin
  • ¼ tsp each of ground sage, dried thyme, and nutmeg
  • ½ cup low fat buttermilk
  • 1 box whole wheat penne, cooked
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. In a large pan sauté mushrooms and onions until onions are translucent.
  2. Add garlic and cook for one more minute.
  3. Add cooked turkey sausage, white wine, chicken broth, pumpkin, sage, thyme, nutmeg and stir.
  4. Add buttermilk, cheese, cooked penne, and mix well.
  5. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes and serve.

Now for real, how good does all that sound?  And a ton healthier than anything you’re going to buy premade.  Still hankering for more pumpkin?  Check out the yummy pumpkin desserts right here on skinny mom, I know I’ve been eyeballing the Skinny Pumpkin Pie!

*For protein powder, I use either vanilla IsaLean or vanilla IsaPro from Isagenix

**I freeze canned pumpkin in ice cube trays; each tray is about ¼ a cup and its super easy to pop them out as needed.