pumpkin spice up your life, but not your waistline.

fall has arrived! at least to minnesota, where it is currently 41 degrees. (brrr…)

while we are sad to see summer go, we are trying to focus on fall favorites: mostly revolving around the clothes (cute outdoor running gear, fabulous transitional coats, I could go on…) but also on the re-emergence of hot coffee & lattes – yum!

today we are focusing on a seasonal favorite: THE pumpkin spice latte from starbucks.

while this seemingly innocent, wholesome beverage may appear to just be a more seasonably-appropriate version of our summertime iced coffee…it’s not! unfortunately, an unaltered order of a grande pumpkin spice latte has the fat of a snickers bar, and the calories & sugar of almost 2 snickers bars. since we find that the best of days are usually not begun with a candy bar binge, we decided to investigate and uncover some ways we can have this beverage & drink it too, so do not despair!

the best approach is to treat this beverage like the dessert that it is, as a splurge, not a daily AM caffeine jolt. however, if you revel in the return of this beverage so much that it cannot be just a splurge from time-to-time (but also prefer not to drink your desserts, it’s seriously not as much fun), here are our favorite fixes:

  1. milk swap: switching to non-fat milk cuts the fat in half and saves 50 calories
  2. watch that whipped cream: usually “whipped” implies lighter…but that’s not the case here. ask for no whip & save an additional 70 calories and take the fat down to zero (with that milk swap)
  3. don’t pump it up: even with these swaps, we’re still left with the 2-snickers-like sugar (it’s coming from the pumpkin spice pumps). we like to ask for half the pumps of pumpkin spice (there are 4 in a grande, we find 2 does the trick just fine!) and you can cut your sugar in half. if you seriously need the uber-sweet taste, substitute 2 of the pumps with some of their sugar-free options: cinnamon dolce or caramel..both still taste delicious!

these reductions still make this latte a big-time splurge over our typical caffeine fix (black coffee), so if we’re feeling in the spirit of the season and need a little pumpkin in our lives but aren’t ready to commit to the sugar intake for the day, we ask for a small pump of the pumpkin spice in our coffee and add a little steamed non-fat milk or soy milk! it’s no pumpkin spice latte, but it sure does taste good!