Now that fall is here, if you haven’t done so already, you’re probably thinking of trading in your cold brew for the decadent foamed milk and foamy whipped cream pumpkin spice latte from your favourite local coffee shop. However, your go-to pumpkin spice latte may not possess as much nutritional value as you would hope it to.
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What’s in a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte?
For example, take a look at the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, also known as PSL. The grande 16-ounce drink—complete with whipped cream, pumpkin sauce, and pumpkin spice topping—contains 380 calories. This may not sound so bad for a delicious treat.
But as a registered dietitian and recipe developer, the sugar content is what really stops me in my tracks. The drink contains 50 grams of sugar. That’s a lot. While Starbucks doesn’t say how much of that is added sugar, the 2020 Dietary Guidelines committee is advising people to cut back even more on added sugars—to six percent of total daily calories.
For a 2,000-calorie daily diet, that’s a cap of 120 calories, or about eight teaspoons of sugar. This is a major reduction down from the current 10 percent of total daily calories recommended as the upper limit in the current dietary guidelines.
Artificial flavours and colours
There are artificial ingredients, like artificial flavours and colours, that many coffee shops use. (For the record, Starbucks now utilizes real pumpkin puree and a natural food coloring, annatto, in its pumpkin spice sauce.) Also, there’s the expense of these seasonal lattes.
Unsurprisingly, the Starbucks PSL is the most popular seasonal drink, with 424 million sold nationwide, CNBC reports. The pumpkin spice latte is a multi-billion-dollar business that your local coffee shop has capitalized on.
(Related: Looking for more pumpkin recipes? Try our recipe for healthy pumpkin spice bars.)
A healthier pumpkin spice latte
Because I want you to enjoy the merits of a mouthwatering pumpkin spice latte without extra calories and added sugar—and without putting a dent in your wallet—I whipped up this easy, healthy-ish, and delicious recipe that you can make in your own kitchen in a matter of minutes.
This pumpkin spice recipe is nutritionist-approved and contains only 110 calories per serving. Skip the whipped topping if you’d like to shave off even more calories. Also, here’s the best part: this pumpkin spice latte only has 12 grams of sugar—and provides a little protein and fibre to help keep you fuller for longer.
Pro tip: When you’re shopping for the pumpkin puree, make sure you buy the variety that’s just pumpkin. Pumpkin pie filling contains added sugar and spices.
Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe
- 8 ounces barista oat milk
- 2 Tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
- 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg, divided
- Pinch ground cloves, divided
- 4 ounces espresso
- ¼ cup light whipped topping
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, pumpkin, maple syrup, and all but a dash of the nutmeg and cloves.
- Stir with a wooden spoon.
- Heat until warm, and remove immediately.
- Brew espresso and divide among two mugs.
- Pour milk mixture on top of espresso.
- Top with whipped cream and remaining spices.
- Makes two servings.
Nutritional information per serving:
- Cal: 110
- Fat: 2.5 g
- Sat fat: 1 g
- Pro: 2 g
- Carbs: 21 g
- Sugar: 12 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Chol: 5 mg
- Sod: 75 mg