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How to make a healthy pumpkin spice latte with way less sugar and calories

A healthier do-it-yourself version of Pumpkin Spice Latte.
A healthier do-it-yourself version of Pumpkin Spice Latte.

What costs five bucks, tastes like fall and has a whopping 380 calories per cup?

It’s officially pumpkin spice latte season, but too many of those Starbucks PSLs can hit not just the pocketbook, but your calorie count, too.

Maggy Doherty, clinical dietitian at Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas, showed us an alternative, healthier pumpkin spice latte that’s quick and easy to make at home.

“The ingredients it takes to make this one is so much less expensive, it has way less calories and way less sugar,” Doherty said.

For example, a grande pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks, costing $5, has 380 calories, 14 grams of fat and 52 grams of carbohydrates with 50 grams of sugar.

Our DIY PSL of the same size: Only 178 calories, 3 grams of fat and 15 grams of carbohydrates with 13 grams of sugar.

And don’t worry about that “health food” taste: This homemade latte is flavorful and fragrant. It has a natural pumpkin taste without the thick, sugary flavors of the mass-marketed variety.

Doherty said pumpkin spice everything has health benefits beyond trendy treats. Pumpkin is a natural source of vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium. When making your pumpkin dishes, Doherty said to buy pure pumpkin puree, not canned pumpkin pie filling with added ingredients.

“The pumpkin pie filling has lots of additives like sugar and salt,” Doherty said. “The only ingredient that should be there is just pumpkin.”

Healthy DIY pumpkin spice latte

2 ounces espresso (or 4-6 ounces strong coffee)

2 tablespoons pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 /8 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon real maple syrup

1 cup non- or low-fat milk (or almond milk)

Blend coffee, pumpkin, spice, vanilla extract and maple syrup until smooth.

Froth the milk. If you don’t have a milk frother, warm it in the microwave and blend until frothed.

Pour pumpkin coffee mixture into a serving mug. Top with milk, reserving foam with a spoon. Add the foam on top and dust with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

Source: Adapted from

Pumpkin spice smoothie

1 frozen banana

2-3 ice cubes

¼ cup canned pumpkin

¼ cup vanilla Greek yogurt

1 cup low- or non-fat milk (or almond milk)

1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Source: Maggy Doherty

Turkey and pumpkin skillet lasagna

1 large can (29 ounces) pure pumpkin puree

1 egg

3⁄4 cup ricotta

1 /3 cup sliced fresh sage

10 no-boil lasagna noodles

6 herbed turkey meatballs, chopped

1 cup shredded mozzarella

In a bowl, mix pumpkin, egg, ricotta and sage.

Spread 1 cup in a large, ovenproof skillet.

Layer the noodles, meatballs and pumpkin mixture. Repeat twice.

Add 1 cup water, cover and simmer over medium for 10 minutes.

Add cheese.

Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit, uncovered, until noodles are cooked, about 15 minutes.

Source: Adapted from


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