It’s almost fall, and that means our cravings for sweet treats should be kicking in any day now. One of the classic fall flavors in muffins, breads, pies, and of course, lattes, is pumpkin. While pumpkins by themselves are not incredibly unhealthy – they are a fruit after all – the sugary ingredients that make up our fall favorites definitely are. One pumpkin-flavored favorite treat that becomes available in early September is the the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. While indulging in this sweet treat a few times during the season won’t be the worst idea, making it your morning staple might just add on some extra winter pounds. A medium-sized Pumpkin Spice Latte has almost 400 calories, 50 grams of sugar, and 52 carbohydrates. We all get a sweet tooth every now and then, so today we wanted to offer some healthy alternatives to muffins and lattes that are healthy and still feature pumpkin as the star of the show.
The only thing that tastes better on a cold autumn night than a big bowl of chili is a big bowl of pumpkin chili. This recipe is great because you can easily tweak it to make your own. We recommend starting with a ground turkey base, throw in some diced tomatoes, corn, bell pepper, onion, garlic, black beans, kidney beans, chili powder, and about two cups of pumpkin puree. Really, adding pumpkin to your favorite chili recipe will achieve a hearty chili with a light natural pumpkin taste. Brown your turkey, chop your veggies, and throw everything into a crockpot. When you get home from work, you’ll be greeted by the amazing aroma of chili that’s ready to eat. Just add a little cheese and a dollop of sour cream if you want, and you’re good to go.
Pumpkin Overnight Oats
Have you jumped aboard the overnight oats train? If not, you are missing out on a cool morning treat that is packed with protein. Overnight oats are essentially the opposite of instant oatmeal and are served cold. To make this breakfast an autumn treat, in an airtight container simply mix together ½ cup of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt, ½ cup of pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling), ¼ cup of plain oats, a pinch of cinnamon, and a little stevia-based sweetener if you choose. If you want an Instagram-worthy treat you can put this all in a mason jar, but a plastic tupperware works just as well. Place your mix in the fridge overnight. The oats will soak up the moisture and soften just as if you had cooked them. Eat these cold in the morning for a hearty breakfast.
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
If you’re more of a smoothie person than an oats person, don’t worry. This pumpkin pie smoothie will have you starting your day right. In a blender mix together ¼ cup of pumpkin puree, ½ cup of nonfat milk or a dairy free alternative such as unsweetened almond milk, a dash of cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg and ginger, and ice. For extra substance, you can add a banana or some Greek yogurt. Feel free to add a low-calorie sweetener or a dash of vanilla extract to sweeten your smoothie. This also makes a great dessert if you’re craving a milkshake.
Can’t Resist The Sweet Treats? Houston Gym Can Help!
Most people gain a couple pounds during the fall and winter, and most of it is the result of the change in our diets from fresh summer foods to comfort foods that we eat with our families and keep us warm. The options above are great alternatives to a pumpkin pie or a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and there are an infinite number of ways to incorporate our favorite fall flavor into your recipes. If you want a fun place to burn some extra cold-weather calories, stop by Houston Gym where you can get set up with a certified personal trainer, participate in an exercise class, or simply use our state-of-the-art equipment in our fitness club. Sign up for a free three-day trial pass and get started today!