Best & Worst

The 27 Best & Worst Pumpkin Spice Foods

We know it’s hard to remember what the grocery store looked like before it was overflowing with pumpkin spice products, but don’t forget that fall will fade. Take advantage of this tasty season and stock up on the good stuff while you can.

Best & Worst

The 27 Best & Worst Pumpkin Spice Foods

We know it’s hard to remember what the grocery store looked like before it was overflowing with pumpkin spice products, but don’t forget that fall will fade. Take advantage of this tasty season and stock up on the good stuff while you can.

Pumpkin spice season can’t be every season, as much as you’d like it to be. But since you have to suffer from withdrawal symptoms all through the rest of the year, pounce on these products as soon as they’re out and buy, buy, buy. But before you pile your cart high with of all the ridiculously delish releases like a squirrel storing nuts for winter, pause for a look at our product guide.

We understand you might want to try everything—we do, too—but some of these waist wideners will wreak havoc on your weight-loss goals if you aren’t careful. Sometimes you’re just better off adding fresh pumpkin to these recipes for The 25 Best-Ever Weight Loss Smoothies and calling it a day.

First…The Worst

pumpkin spice donuts

If you think there’s no such thing as too much when it comes to your beloved pumpkin spice flavor, think again. These fall finds may taste as amazing as they smell, but their effect on your body will be just the opposite if you indulge too often.

1

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte

starbucks pumpkin spice latte

Per grande (16 oz): 380 calories, 14 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 240 mg sodium, 52 g carbs (0 g fiber, 50 g sugar), 14 g protein

Put the pumpkin spice latte down. We know this is hard to hear, especially since you’ve been waiting for it all year, but listen up. Drinking a grande PSL from Starbucks is like dumping almost 13 teaspoons of sugar into your mouth. In fact, it’s 3 more grams of the sweet stuff than the average amount the FDA recommends eating all day just in one 16-ounce cup. So while we can’t blame you for giving into temptation every now and again, if you’re going to grab a PSL on your way to work, at least combat its excessive sugar levels with one of these 15 Healthy Breakfast Ideas.

2

Pepperidge Farm Milano Pumpkin Spice Cookies

milano pumpkin cookies

Per 2 cookies (25 g): 130 calories, 7 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 40 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 1 g protein

Odds are good that you already loved Milano cookies just as they were even before Pepperidge Farms added your fave flavor to them, but don’t start piling this product into your pantry. Eating only two pumpkin spice cookies will have you hitting double-digit sugar grams—it is the second ingredient listed on the label, after all—so be mindful of how many you eat if you buy a bag. Added sugar adds up, and according to a study in JAMA: Internal Medicine, those who consume 17-21 percent of their calories from these sugars are 38 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than people consuming only 8. So when you try this treat, remember that it’s just that—a treat, not a diet staple.

3

Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats Pumpkin Spice

pumpkin spice mini wheats cereal

Per 25 biscuits (55 g): 190 calories, 1g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 46 g carbs (6 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 5 g protein

Until Kellogg’s announces whether or not these pumpkin spice Frosted Mini Wheats will be coming to a grocery store near you, buy a box online instead. Pour yourself a bowl and then pass this sugary cereal onto another pumpkin lover before you make 12 grams of sugar part of your routine morning meal. A study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that dairy and high-sugar foods are associated with acne, so mixing this up with milk may not be doing your skin any favors.

4

Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Donut

pumpkin dunkin donut

Per 1 donut: 360 calories, 21 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 380 mg sodium 39 g carbs (1 g fiber, 20 g sugar), 3 g protein

It’s hard enough resisting temptation every time you head into Dunkin’ for a black coffee and a breakfast wrap with all of those donuts lurking behind the register. Sometimes just the sight can be enough to get your mind off the scale and get a fried dessert in your mouth. If you’ve been there, done that, you may have to shield your eyes next time you walk in. Anyone who loved this seasonal flavor last fall will probably love it even more after a year off—until the 21 grams of fat and 20 grams of sugar hit.

5

Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese

philadelphia pumpkin cream cheese

Per 2 tbsp (32 g): 80 calories, 6 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 100 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (0 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 1 g protein

We wouldn’t recommend plain cream cheese to start with, so it probably doesn’t come as a shocker that we’re not big fans of the pumpkin spice version. Instead of a breakfast bagel, save yourself the calories and satisfy your pumpkin and cinnamon cravings by throwing fresh ingredients into a blender. A morning smoothie will do your bod better than this tub of added sugars and carrageenan, which made our list of 25 Awful Ingredients Everyone Still Uses—But Shouldn’t. According to Gina Hassick, RD, LDN, CDE, “Carrageenan can trigger an immune response that causes inflammation, gut irritation and lesions, and even cancer.” She recommends checking labels, but luckily we’ve done that for you.

6

Kahlua Pumpkin Spice Liqueur

kahlua pumpkin liqueur

Per 2.5 fl oz: 223 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (0 g fiber, 35 g sugar), 0 g protein

Looks like pumpkin spice is finding its way into every nook and cranny at the grocery store this year—even the liquor aisle. Kahlua blends together Arabica coffee and sugarcane rum with pumpkin and autumn spices in this fall drink, which sounds too good to be true. And it kind of is. Just one serving will knock out 75 percent of your daily recommended sugar levels and set you back over 200 calories. So if you’re desperate to give this one a go, call up some friends for a scale-friendly pumpkin party.

7

Lenny And Larry Complete Cookie Pumpkin Spice

lenny larry complete pumpkin cookie

Per 2 oz (56 g): 190 calories, 6 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (4 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 8 g protein

While Lenny and Larry boast that this complete pumpkin cookie is “packed with protein,” there are actually twice as many grams of sugar in each one. In fact, if you ate the entire thing, you’d consume 32 grams! According to a study in BMC Nutrition, combining sugar-sweetened items like these cookies with protein can actually lead to increased fat storage. Up to you to decide whether that’s worth trying this treat.

8

Alden’s Organic Pumpkin Ice Cream

alden pumpkin ice cream

Per 1/2 cup (71 g): 160 calories, 9 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 35 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (0 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 2 g protein

With so many early pumpkin spice releases, you can now indulge in your favorite summer treat with your favorite fall flavors. But although we love that Alden’s pumpkin ice cream is organic, we don’t love that there are almost 20 grams of sugar and 10 grams of fat in each half cup of the stuff. This blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pumpkin is only available for a limited time, so it’s worth a try. Just keep your spoon from hitting bottom.

9

Nestle Coffee-Mate Pumpkin Spice Liquid Coffee Creamer

coffee mate pumpkin creamer

Per 1 tbsp: 35 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 5 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (0 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 0 g protein*

Like the rest of Coffee-Mate’s liquid creamers, this pumpkin option claims to be free of trans fat. But don’t believe everything you hear because the partially hydrogenated oils on the ingredients list are actually a source of the stuff. If you don’t think that’s a big deal, think on this. A study in the Journal of Health Economics found that cardiovascular disease deaths decreased by 4.5 percent over 10 years in New York counties enforcing a trans fat ban compared to those who didn’t.

10

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Cookie Butter

trader joes pumpkin cookie butter

Per 2 tbsp (37 g): 220 calories, 15 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 50 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (1 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 1 g protein

There’s nothing quite like Trader Joe’s in the fall with so many pumpkin products lining the shelves. But with fall favorites on every corner, you have to tread carefully. Otherwise, you might end up walking out with a high-cal, high-fat product like this. While it tastes incredible, Trader Joe’s pumpkin cookie butter doesn’t do incredible things to your body, especially since sticking to a two-tablespoon serving is an impossible feat.

11

Clif Bar Spiced Pumpkin Pie Energy Bars

clif bar pumpkin energy

Per 1 bar (68 g): 250 calories, 4.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 170 mg sodium, 45 g carbs (4 g fiber, 23 g sugar), 9 g protein

This pumpkin pie energy bar probably isn’t going to give you the energy you need for your next outdoor excursion. Yes, chowing down on the whole Clif bar will give you 9 grams of protein, but you’ll be consuming 23 grams of sugar on top of that. And according to a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a snack like this will only give you temporary energy before just leaving you tired.

12

Pillsbury Perfectly Pumpkin Cookie Mix

pillsbury pumpkin cookie mix

Per 1/18 package (28 g): 110 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 125 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (0 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 1 g protein

With such a large-lineup of pumpkin products, you can drink it, snack on it, make meals out of it, and even find it on the dessert menu. But if you’re tempted to indulge in a sweet fall treat by whipping up this Pillsbury mix, think it through before you scarf down multiple sugary cookies. If you’re in the kitchen anyway, how about choosing from these 20 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes instead?

Now…The Best

pumpkin soup

You didn’t think it was all bad, did you? All pumpkin spice products are not created equal, so we’ve rounded up some better buys for you to stock up on while you can.

1

Peanut Butter & Co. Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter

peanut butter co pumpkin spice

Per 2 tbsp (32 g): 180 calories, 14 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 90 mg sodium, 10 g carbs (2 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 6 g protein

Bring your fall fave to your breakfast plate with a jar of Peanut Butter & Co’s pumpkin spice flavored spread. Whether you’re slathering it on toast or adding it to a smoothie, a serving of this will pack on protein and healthy fats. While we could do without the added cane sugar, we’d look past that to give this peanut butter a go.

2

Belvita Breakfast Biscuits Pumpkin Spice

pumpkin belvita breakfast biscuits

Per 1 biscuit: 60 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 55 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 3 g sugar), <1 g protein

You might not have time to make an omelet or even pour a bowl of cereal in the morning, let alone sit down to eat either one, but everyone’s got a second to grab a breakfast biscuit on their way out the door. If you’re already a fan of Belvita, you’ll love this pumpkin spice addition. Each biscuit is low-cal, low-fat, and low-sodium—a triple threat!

3

Pumpkin Spice Cheerios

pumpkin spice cheerios

Per 3/4 cup (28 g): 110 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 120 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (2 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 2 g protein

Whether you eat a handful straight out of the box or add these pumpkin spice Cheerios to a bowl of milk, you’re getting 17 grams of whole grain per serving, which is more than a quarter of your daily recommended amount. It is a bit of a sugary start to your morning, but with such low calorie and fat counts, you can feel good about giving into your pumpkin cravings.

4

Chobani Pumpkin Spice Blended Yogurt

pumpkin greek yogurt chobani

Per 5.3 oz (150 g): 120 calories, 2.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 50 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (0 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 12 g protein

Wake up and get your daily dose of fall with Chobani’s pumpkin Greek yogurt. Stock up on their maple and apple cinnamon flavors as well to help curb your cravings, which are all high in protein and low in calories and fat. And with five strains of live active cultures, each carton will do your digestive system a favor, which is why Chobani earned a spot on our list of 18 Best Probiotic Products For Gut Health.

5

Mrs. Renfro’s Pumpkin Salsa

pumpkin salsa mrs renfros

Per 2 tbsp (33 g): 75 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 190 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (0 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 0 g protein

Just because you’ve gone into pumpkin overdrive this fall doesn’t mean you have to give up on other flavors, like your favorite spicy salsa. Mrs. Renfro’s combines their classic ingredients with pumpkin for a dip that they refer to as “Thanksgiving on a chip.” Not only is there nothing frightful on its nutrition label, but adding a little spice to your snack can actually be a metabolism-booster. Hot peppers, like the ones found in this dip, are full of the fat-burning chemical capsaicin.

6

Tazo Chai Pumpkin Spice Black Tea

tazo chai pumpkin black tea

Nutrition info unavailable

While the nutrition information for this Tazo flavor is unavailable, it seems to simply be a blend of black tea and spices. According to the USDA, a cup of black tea is typically 2 calories, so you won’t be sacrificing much in that department with this fall beverage. And not only that, but a study in the European Heart Journal found that it can improve blood vessel dilation and blood flow as long as you don’t counteract these effects by adding milk.

7

Kashi TLC Pumpkin Spice Flax Crunchy Granola Bars

kashi pumpkin flax granola bars

Per 2 bars (40 g): 170 calories, 6 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 90 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (4 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 4 g protein

If you’re in the mood for crunchy, whole pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds, buy a box of Kashi bars. This fall flavor has 21 grams of whole grains per serving, not to mention 4 grams of protein and less than 200 calories. And did we mention each serving is two whole bars? That’s a satiating snack if we’ve ever heard of one.

8

Halo Top Pumpkin Ice Cream

pumpkin ice cream halo top

Per 1/2 cup (70 g): 90 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 130 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (3 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 5 g protein

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream—when each serving has less than 100 calories and 10 grams of sugar. Halo Top is a diet dessert you can spoon out guilt-free, and this pumpkin flavor doesn’t sacrifice taste for its knockout nutrition label. Each pint includes pie crust, pumpkin, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Sounds like it’s time for a trip to the freezer aisle, doesn’t it?

9

Health Warrior Pumpkin Cinnamon Spice Bar

pumpkin seed cinnamon spice bar health warrior

Per 1 bar (36 g): 180 calories, 12 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 40 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (2 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 8 g protein

When it comes to ingredients lists, Health Warrior hits it out of the park with their pumpkin cinnamon spice flavor. Each bar is all natural, made up only of pumpkin seeds, organic honey, quinoa, cinnamon, ginger, coconut oil, allspice, and sea salt—all things we can pronounce. And as if that wasn’t good enough, they pack on 8 grams of protein and 12 grams of healthy fats, not to mention less than 50 milligrams of sodium. This is your favorite fall flavor at its best.

10

Birch Benders Pumpkin Spice Pancake And Waffle Mix

birch benders pumpkin pancake waffle mix

Per 1/4 cup (35 g): 120 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 360 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (1 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 4 g protein

Just add water. That’s all you have to do to mix up these brown sugar pumpkin spice pancakes or waffles, which taste and smell just like fall. With mixes like this usually racking up the calories and sugar, Birch Benders’ version is a refreshingly guilt-free option. It’s even only got 25 grams of carbs per serving, which is just 8 percent of your recommended daily dose. So instead of heading to IHOP for a fatty, sugar-laden stack of pancakes, get busy in the kitchen.

11

Zupa Noma Pumpkin Cinnamon Sage Superfood Soup

zupa pumpkin cinnamon superfood soup

Per 355 g: 170 calories, 9 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (5 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 4 g protein

While these sippable soups are only available through Zupa Noma’s website, this pumpkin cinnamon flavor is worth the time spent at your keyboard. The company recommends making soup swaps throughout your day as a healthier replacement for sugary lattes and smoothies. With organic ingredients and a nutrition label we love, plus a body-benefiting dose of vegetables and superfoods, you can’t go wrong incorporating this seasonal soup into your daily diet.

12

Kind Nut & Spices Caramel Almond Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars

kind caramel almond pumpkin bars

Per 1 bar (40 g): 200 calories, 15 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 15 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (7 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 4 g protein

Here’s a granola bar that’s kind to your weight-loss goals. This limited edition flavor, which can be found online, is a great choice for between-meal snacking. Bite into 15 grams of healthy fat and then head to the gym. According to a study in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, almonds—one of the main ingredients in this bar—can help you burn more fat and carbs during workouts.

13

Pumpkin Spice Quaker Instant Oatmeal

instant oatmeal pumpkin quaker

Per 1 packet (43 g): 160 calories, 2.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 32 g carbs (3 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 4 g protein

Start your morning on the right foot with a quick trip to the microwave. Quaker’s instant oatmeal comes in a variety of flavors, but this pumpkin spice version is one of our fall faves. Portable and perfect for pumpkin lovers, each packet is low in fat, sodium, and calories. So mix up a morning bowl as long as you’re mindful of your sugar intake the rest of the day to combat this a.m. double digit dose.

14

Skillet Foods Chipotle Pumpkin Ketchup

chipotle pumpkin ketchup skillet foods

Per 1 tbsp (16.5 g): 15 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 125 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (0 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 0 g protein

You’ve got to try this pumpkin spice product just for the sake of saying so. Chipotle pumpkin ketchup? We’re not sure how we feel about that combo, but we’re definitely curious, especially since 15 calories, 125 milligrams of sodium, and 2 grams of sugar isn’t bad for a crazy condiment like this.

15

Nuts ‘N More High Protein Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter

nuts n more peanut butter pumpkin

Per 2 tbsp: 180 calories, 10 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 46 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (3 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 12 g protein

We love pumpkin spice, especially when it’s mixed up with peanut butter’s healthy fats and whey isolate’s protein content. Whether you’re adding this to toasted sweet potato slices, celery, or a smoothie, you can’t go wrong. And when fall is over and you’ve got to go back to regular PB, don’t go shopping without our guide to the good stuff. We Tested 10 Peanut Butters, And This Is The Best!