Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice
As fall begins, we can all look forward to the many pumpkin spice-flavored snacks, treats, and drinks that come with the season. Since many premade pumpkin spice foods are high in sugar and calories, you may be wondering how you can enjoy this autumn flavor while keeping a healthy diet.
To help you and your family find options that work for everybody, we’ve put together three healthy (and super easy!) pumpkin spice recipes—plus a few tips for choosing snacks of your own.
If you’d like more help in navigating nutrition now or at any time of year, schedule an appointment with our Nutrition and Diabetes Education specialist.
Tips for Choosing Healthy Snacks
It’s easy to incorporate pumpkin spice blends into the foods you eat this fall. But whatever you choose to munch on, remember the following tips:
- Plan ahead. It’s easier to make better food choices when you have healthy foods on hand. Stock up on plenty of nuts, seeds, whole grain crackers, vegetables, and dried fruits to keep you filled throughout the day.
- Go whole grain. Swap breads, crackers, and pasta with whole grain alternatives. Whole grains are more nutritious than their refined counterparts.
- Incorporate nuts and seeds. Many nuts and seeds are good sources of healthy fats and can help you feel fuller for longer.
- Choose unsalted or lightly salted foods. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that consuming less than 5 grams of salt per day for adults helps reduce risks of heart disease and high blood pressure.
- Indulge in moderation. It’s OK to indulge in foods with a high sugar or salt content on occasion, but make sure you keep them as a once-in-a-while treat rather than part of your everyday diet.
- When possible, make snacks yourself. Preparing homemade snacks and treats gives you more control over how much sugar, salt, butter, and other ingredients are in each serving.
Recipe #1: Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
These delicious whole wheat pumpkin spice pancakes are great for satisfying your sweet tooth while also getting a fiber boost. Consider adding chopped pecans, almonds, or walnuts as a crunchy topping to these fluffy pancakes.
Makes: 6 large pancakes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups low-fat milk
- 2 tsp pumpkin spice blend
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 banana or apple, chopped into slices (for topping)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, pumpkin spice blend, salt, and mix together. In the same bowl, add in eggs, vanilla extract, and milk. Mix together dry and wet ingredients until just combined.
- In a large nonstick skillet, pour a light layer of vegetable oil and tilt the skillet to spread oil around. Turn heat to medium.
- Once the skillet is hot, pour in pancake batter ¼ cup at a time. When the batter bubbles and sets on the edges, flip the pancake and finish cooking. Repeat until all the batter is gone.
- After plating the pancakes, top with a light dusting of pumpkin spice. Drizzle a small amount of pure maple syrup or honey, add fresh sliced fruit (like banana or apple) if desired, and enjoy!
Recipe #2: Pumpkin Spice Trail Mix
With dark chocolate chunks and tasty roasted nuts, this recipe is a great snack that both kids and adults can enjoy. It’s also easily customizable—invite kids to swap in their choice of nuts, seeds, and chocolate pieces.
Makes: 12 servings (½ cup per serving)
Prep time: 5 minutes
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips, M&M’s, or Reeses Pieces
- 1 cup roasted, shelled, and unsalted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1 cup roasted, unsalted pecans
- 1 cup roasted, unsalted almonds
- 2 cups mini pretzel twists or Chex
- 1 Tbsp pumpkin spice blend (to taste)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- In a large mixing bowl or large sealable plastic bag, add chocolate chips, seeds, nuts, and pretzels. Stir together or seal the bag and shake to combine.
- Add 1 tablespoon of pumpkin spice blend and 1 teaspoon of salt and stir or shake again. Depending on your taste preferences, add more pumpkin spice blend 1 teaspoon at a time, stirring or shaking after each time. Pour in a snack bowl and enjoy!
Recipe #3: Hearty Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal
Having oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to get in your daily fiber and fuel up for the day ahead. Our recipe for pumpkin spice oatmeal is an excellent breakfast choice for the whole family.
The trick to a delicious bowl of oatmeal is using steel-cut oats instead of instant oats. Steel-cut oats take a little extra work, but they’re absolutely worth it to get perfectly creamy oatmeal. It’s also easy to refrigerate and reheat leftovers.
Makes: 4 servings (¼ cup of oats per serving)
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 25-30 min
- 1 cup steel-cut oats
- 2 ½ cups low-fat milk or water
- 2 tsp pumpkin spice blend
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 apple or banana, chopped into slices (for topping)
- Handful of roasted, unsalted pecans or almonds (for topping)
- Pour 2 ½ cups of low-fat milk or water into a saucepan. For less thick oatmeal, use 3 cups of liquid. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Once liquid is boiling, stir in steel-cut oats and salt. Return to a boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer. Let simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- When oatmeal has reached your preferred consistency, remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Stir in pumpkin spice blend. For an extra flavor kick, stir oatmeal using a whole cinnamon stick.
- Top with apple or banana slices and roasted nuts. Divide into bowls and enjoy!
If you make any of these tasty treats or have a healthy pumpkin spice recipe idea of your own, share it with us on Instagram! Just upload a photo and tag us at @FLMedClinic.