13 pumpkin spice treats that are good for you

Oh, the pumpkin spice latte. Single-handedly responsible for igniting a craze of all things pumpkin, this coffee drink has been the inspiration for countless pumpkin-spice-flavored goodies, many of them loaded with a full day - or several days - worth of sugar.

As if it isn't hard enough already to keep things together through the holidays, nutritionally speaking.

A Starbucks Grande pumpkin spice latte packs in just fewer than 400 calories, with 50 grams of sugar. That's more sugar than four full-size Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. And that's just a medium. With reduced-fat milk.

Make your pumpkin spice latte a Venti (Starbucks lingo for "large") with regular milk and you'll be sipping down 520 calories and 64 grams of sugar - more sugar than two full packs of M&Ms.

Unfortunately, there's no easy solution for a lower-sugar pumpkin spice latte because you rarely find sugar-free pumpkin syrup behind the counter at coffee shops.

Option one: Request less pumpkin syrup to help trim the sugar and calories. 

Option two: Make one at home, with pumpkin-infused coffee (available as whole-bean, ground coffee, and Keurig-style cups, all of which are close to zero calories), or add a sugar-free pumpkin syrup like Torani Pumpkin Pie to your regular coffee. Either way, you'll save calories, sugar, and money.

Option three: Instead of a sugary pumpkin latte, see if you can satisfy those cravings for pumpkin spice with low- and no-sugar pumpkin-flavored treats that are actually good for you, too.

13 good-for you pumpkin flavored finds

Pumpkin Spice tea - hot or iced - is a zero-calorie way to satisfy a craving for pumpkin spice. (Photo by The Republic of Tea)

Pumpkin Spice tea.Most of the common brands of tea on shelves - The Republic of Tea, Celestial Seasonings, and Bigelow Tea, for example -- offer some type of pumpkin-spiced tea. This provides the quintessential flavors of fall, hot or iced, with zero calories or sugar.

Each Pumpkin Pie protein bar by Oh Yeah! packs in 21 grams of protein and just one gram of sugar. (Photo by Molly Kimball)

Pumpkin Pie ONE Protein Bar by Oh Yeah!

More cinnamon-sweet than spicy, these Pumpkin Pie protein bars by Oh Yeah! are among the only pumpkin-flavored high-protein bars currently in stores. Each bar has 21 grams of protein, and just 1 gram of sugar. They're still 230 calories, however, so be sure to factor in the calories. And one main drawback (although it's not a deal-breaker for me, for the occasional snack) is that they're artificially sweetened with sucralose (Splenda).

Gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free, the full line of Rx Bars are centered on simple, streamlined ingredients, with no added sugar. (Photo by Molly Kimball)

Rx Bar - Pumpkin Spice Bar

With a super-clean ingredient list of just dates, egg whites, almonds, cashews, pumpkin and spices, these Rx bars are gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free, with no added sugar. Each Pumpkin Spice Rx Bar has 210 calories, 8 grams fat (all from nuts), 12 grams protein, and 15 grams of naturally occurring sugar. Available locally at The Green Fork and other wellness stores.

Made with 100% whole wheat, these Pumpkin & Spice Triscuits combine just the right blend of sweet and spicy. (Photo by Molly Kimball)

Pumpkin & Spice Triscuits

Brands like Trader Joe's and Target each have pumpkin-flavored tortilla chips. But let's be honest - they're just fried corn chips with a bit of pumpkin puree or powder. They're not sugar-loaded calorie bombs, but they're not what you'd call nutritious.

Pumpkin & Spice Triscuits, however, are actually legitimately good for you and they have quite a bit more pumpkin spice than the pumpkin chips.

Made with whole grain wheat and pumpkin spices, each six-cracker serving has 120 calories and 3 grams of fiber. And while they do have a touch of brown sugar and regular sugar, the total sugar per serving is still less than 1 gram.

Blend a serving of Bob's Red Mill Chia & Probiotics blend with unsweetened almond milk and pumpkin puree for a pumpkin spice protein smoothie with nearly five times more soluble fiber than a serving of oatmeal. (Photo by Molly Kimball)

Chai Protein Powder with Chia and Probiotics by Bob's Red Mill

So this isn't exactly a pumpkin-flavored find, but it can easily become one.

It's got all the good stuff we want: 20 grams of plant-based protein, 9 grams of soluble fiber (nearly five times more soluble fiber than a serving of oatmeal), and just 1 gram of sugar (it's naturally sweetened with monkfruit extract).

The natural Vanilla Chai flavor pairs well with pumpkin; just mix it with a cup of unsweetened almond milk and half a cup of pumpkin puree and ice, and you've got a nutrient-packed pumpkin spice protein smoothie.

Add a dash of pumpkin spice and a boost of fiber to Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal, and smoothies with this Pumpkin Spice Ground Chia Blend by Spectrum. (Photo by Molly Kimball)

Spectrum Pumpkin Spice Ground Chia Blend

A sweet and savory blend of chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins and spices, this Pumpkin Spice Ground Chia Blend can be sprinkled over Greek yogurt or oatmeal, added to casseroles and baked goods, or blended into smoothies. Each two-tablespoon serving add 4 grams of fiber and 2 grams of plant-based omega-3 fats, with 70 calories and less than 1 gram of sugar.

With nine grams of protein and just six grams of sugar, this fall-flavored granola is one of the better granola options on shelves. (Photo by Molly Kimball)

Engine 2 Apple Pumpkin Granola

It's more apple than pumpkin - but with the medley of fall spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cardamom) with a bit of maple syrup, this Engine 2 Apple Pumpkin Granola might still satisfy your cravings for fall flavors.

And the nutritional stats are really good, especially compared with other types of granola: Each half-cup serving has 230 calories, 9 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of sugar (largely from the apple sauce and dried apples).

Add Engine 2 Apple Pumpkin Granola to anything for a crunch - Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or just straight out of the bag.

Buff Bake combines peanut butter with whey protein, pumpkin spices, chia seed and flaxseed for a pumpkin spice nut butter with 11 grams of protein and four grams of fiber per serving. (Photo by Molly Kimball)

Buff Bake Pumpkin Spice Protein Peanut Butter

Made with roasted peanuts, whey protein, coconut sugar, pumpkin spices, coconut oil, and chia seed and flaxseed, this Buff Bake Pumpkin Spice Protein Peanut Butter has 11 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per 210-calorie two-tablespoon serving, with 5 grams of sugar.

It's delicious on whole grain bread, waffles, or apple slices; the biggest challenge is to keep portion size in check.

Cashew butter with whey protein and a "caramel" sauce of dates and sea salt, this Caramel Pumpkin nut butter has 10 grams of protein and just three grams of sugar per serving. (Photo by Molly Kimball)

Muscle Butter High Protein Caramel Pumpkin Spice Cashew Butter

Made with cashews instead of peanuts, this Muscle Butter High Protein Pumpkin Nut Butter blend also has the added boost of whey protein along with coconut oil and spices, blended with a no-sugar-added "caramel sauce" from dates and sea salt.

Each two-tablespoon serving has 190 calories, 10 grams protein, 2 grams of fiber, and just 3 grams of sugar.

Again, tasty when paired with pretty much anything, or just straight out of the jar - the key is to keep it to just one serving at a time.

Nearly all of siggi's Icelandic yogurts have more protein than sugar, and their Pumpkin & Spice is no exception. (Photo by Molly Kimball)

siggi's Pumpkin & Spice Yogurt

I love that nearly all of siggi's products have more protein than sugar. And this one is no exception. With a bit of real pumpkin and the rich flavors of cinnamon, and nutmeg it doesn't need much sugar. Each carton has 110 calories, with 15 grams of protein and 11 grams of sugar (approximately 5 grams is added sugar).

Goat cheese is naturally lower in sodium than many other cheeses, including this pumpkin chevre. (Photo by Molly Kimball)

Sweet pumpkin chevre by Goat Milk Stuff

I love goat cheese of any type. And this pumpkin chevre made with goat milk, pumpkin, spices, and vanilla, has nutritional stats that are pretty similar to regular goat cheese, which is naturally very low in sodium (on average 80 mg sodium per ounce, compared to 330 mg sodium for a similar cheese like feta).

Spread it over whole grain bread, pair it with a sliced apple or pear, or use veggies like celery sticks, jicama, endive leaves or sliced yellow and red peppers for dipping.

Only available online at GoatMilkStuff.com; not available locally.

The Pumpkin Spice seasonal flavor of Extra Sugar-free gum is surprisingly satisfying. The main drawback is that it's only available for a limited time. (Photo by Molly Kimball)

Extra Sugar-free Gum: Pumpkin Spice Seasonal Edition

This is to be one of the easiest ways to get your pumpkin spice fix. Really. Anytime you've got a craving for a sugary pumpkin spice latte, try popping a piece of this gum just might do the trick.

Just like any type of Extra Sugar Free gum, this Pumpkin Spice Seasonal Edition of Extra Gum has just 5 sugar-free calories per stick. We've found it in the New Orleans area at stores like Walmart and Walgreens, and it's also available on Amazon.

Each two-piece serving of this pumpkin spice hard candy has just five sugar-free calories. (Photo by Molly Kimball)

Pumpkin Spice Ice Chips Sugar-Free candy

If you're more of a hard candy person than a chewing gum person, order a batch of these Pumpkin Spice Ice Chips. Don't let the name "ice chip" fool you - they're called "chips" because they're like cracked or flaked hard candy, not because they're wintergreen or otherwise "icey."

Made with xylitol (the sweetener used in products like Trident gum), each two-piece serving has just 5 calories and zero sugar. Available online at IceChipsCandy.com.

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Serve this Pumpkin Spice Hummus with vegetables in place of whole wheat pita chips, to save even more carbs and calories. (Photo by Erin L. Sempowski)

Add a festive twist to plain old hummus with this fall favorite by Chef Leah Sarris, program director of the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University.

Pumpkin Spice Hummus with Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips
Makes 8 servings

For the Hummus:

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed

3/4 cup pumpkin puree, canned

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground

1 teaspoon nutmeg, ground

1/2 teaspoon ginger, ground

1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Pita Chips:

12 pieces whole wheat pita bread

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground

1/4 teaspoon ginger, ground

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, ground

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon cloves, ground

Place all ingredients for the hummus in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Water can be added, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired texture is reached. Refrigerate hummus after making and hold until ready to serve.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the pita bread into in 6-8 slices, per piece, and place in a medium-large mixing bowl. Pour the olive oil over the bread and toss until evenly coated. Add the sugar and spices to the bowl and toss. Spread the pitas evenly on a parchment paper or foil lined baking tray, trying to avoid overlap. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until the chips begin to turn light brown. Remove from oven and cool before serving. 

Per serving:222 calories, 9 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 300 milligrams sodium, 31 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber, 1 gram sugar, 9 grams protein.

Per serving (1/4 cup hummus only):110 calories, 8 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 130 milligrams sodium, 10 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar, 3 grams protein.

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Editor's note: Registered dietitian Molly Kimball offers brand-name products as a consumer guide; she does not solicit product samples nor is paid to recommend items.

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Molly Kimball is a Registered dietitian in New Orleans. She can be reached at eatingright@nola.com. Comment and read more atNOLA.com/eat-drink. Follow her on Facebook:facebook.com/mollykimballrd, Instagram:Instagram.com/mollykimballrd and Twitter:twitter.com/mollykimballrd.

Source : http://www.nola.com/healthy-eating/2016/11/13_good-for-you_pumpkin_flavor.html

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