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Best & Worst

The 28 Best and Worst Pumpkin Spice Foods

Take advantage of this tasty season and stock up on the good stuff while you can.
The 28 Best and Worst Pumpkin Spice Foods
Best & Worst
The 28 Best and Worst Pumpkin Spice Foods
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 pumpkin spice products are no more than limited-edition gimmicks to get you to buy unhealthy food. 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

Pepperidge farm milano pumpkin spice 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: 340 calories, 19 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 380 mg sodium 39 g carbs (1 g fiber, 19 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 19 grams of fat and 19 grams of sugar hit.

5

Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese

Philadelphia pumpkin spice 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 ½ cookie (57 g): 200 calories, 6 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 280 mg sodium, 31 g carbs (5 g fiber, 12 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

Pillsbury Perfectly Pumpkin Cookie Mix

pillsbury pumpkin cookie mix

Per ⅛ package (28 g): 110 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 125 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (<1 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?

9

Nestle Coffee-Mate Pumpkin Spice Liquid Coffee Creamer

Nestle coffee mate pumpkin spice

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

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

You could bring your fall fave to your breakfast plate with a jar of Peanut Butter & Co’s pumpkin spice flavored spread, but we recommend you hold back from going in for seconds. Peanut Butter & Co adds sugar to their product, which can add up if you’re tallying it up in a fruit smoothie or paired with jam.

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

Chobani Flip Pumpkin Harvest Crisp

chobani flip pumpkin harvest crisp

5.3 oz: 200 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 90 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (1 g fibe, 17 g sugar), 12 g protein

Just because this flip-cup is full of protein and probiotics, doesn’t mean you should add a handful to your cart. With 200 calories and 17 grams of sugar, this ‘gurt qualifies more as a dessert. Stick to indulging in this pie-crust- and pecan-studded tub occasionally and choose Chobani’s low-sugar, pumpkin and spice blended yogurt on the reg.

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

Pumpkin Pie Perfect Bar

Perfect bar pumpkin pie

320 calories, 19 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 35 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (4 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 14 g protein

Unlike the pre-packaged pumpkin pie you pick up at the store, Perfect Bar crafts its mini-meal with 20 organic superfoods including kelp, alfalfa, flaxseed, and peanut butter. The bar also packs in a slew of energizing B vitamins, 20 percent of your daily value of skin-nourishing vitamin E, and 20 percent of your daily value of bone-building magnesium as well as 14 grams of satiating protein coming from both plant sources and eggs.

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 grains 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

chobani blended pumpkin spice

Per 5.3 oz (150 g): 120 calories, 2.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 50 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 11 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.

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 Pie Ice Cream

halo top pumpkin pie

Per 1/2 cup (70 g): 90 calories, 3 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 125 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 pie 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?

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 Pumpkin Spice with Collagen

zupa noma whole30 pumpkin spice collagen

12 fl oz bottle: 210 calories, 10 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 230 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (4 g fiber, 7 g sugar [0 g added sugar]), 10 g protein

Zupa packs its Whole30-approved gazpacho with anti-inflammatory ingredients including ginger, sage, nutmeg, and cinnamon as well as fiber-filled pumpkin, sweet potato, apple, and butternut squash for a rounded meal that will crush fall cravings. The sip is also infused with 10 grams of grass-fed collagen peptides, which help keep skin youthful and locks long and strong.

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

“Made with real pumpkin, whole nuts and only 5 grams of sugar (which is 50% less sugar than the average nutrition bar), it’s a tasty snack to enjoy all season long.”

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 fats, real pumpkin, and just 5 grams of sugar before heading 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), 190 mg sodium, 32 g carbs (3 g fiber, 11 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.

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!

16

Bulletproof Pumpkin Spice Collagen Protein Bar

bulletproof pumpkin spice collagen protein bar

1 bar (45 g): 220 calories, 14 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 100 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (0 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 12 g protein

Most fall treats are packed to the brim with sugars and sticky syrups, which negate all the goodness these flavors have to offer! However, Bulletproof Apple Pie and Bulletproof Pumpkin Spice bars are packed with collagen and Brain Octane Oil to help burn fat, improve digestive health & keep you focused. A plus? These bars are made with no added sugar.

17

Davidson’s Organics Pumpkin Spice Black Tea

davidsons organics pumpkin spice black tea

0 calories

Organic black tea, organic ginger, organic cinnamon, organic nutmeg, organic cloves, organic allspice and natural flavor.

Instead of ordering a sugary PSL, get the same warm comfort by brewing a mug of this spiced black tea. And rather than filling your tummy with inflammatory sugars, you’ll get a potent dose of healthful herbs and spices. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92774/ shows that cinnamon, ginger, and cloves—three key ingredients found in Davidson’s brew—can potentially prevent cancer.

18

Daiya Pumpkin Spice Cheezecake

daiya pumpkin spice cheezecake

1 slice (100 g): 350 calories, 21 g fat (15 g saturated fat), 370 mg sodium, 37 g carbs (2 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 3 g protein

Daiya’s vegan pumpkin spice “cheezecake” is the closest you’ll get to a New York-style slice if you’re avoiding dairy. While the calorie and sugar contents are quite high, indulging in a piece once in a blue isn’t so bad. Daiya achieves its velvety texture thanks to creamed coconut and uses real pumpkin in its recipe for a dose of skin-clearing vitamin A.

19

RXBAR Pumpkin Spice

rxbar pumpkin spice

1 bar (52 g): 210 calories, 8 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 105 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (5 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 12 g protein

Made with just seven simple ingredients you’d likely find in your own kitchen, RXBAR redefines snack time. This warmly-spiced bar is sweetened with dates, which are low-glycemic and don’t result in a significant blood sugar spike, even in diabetics, a study in the Nutrition Journal found. Plus, you’ll get 5 grams of blood-sugar-stabilizing fiber as well as 8 grams of healthy fats coming from almonds and cashews.

20

Bear Naked Pumpkin Spice Granola

bear naked granola pumpkin spice

¼ cup: 130 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 30 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (2 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 6 g protein

Upgrade your breakfast parfait with Bear Naked’s whole-grain granola. Creamy white chocolate lends the clusters a subtle sweetness while roasted soybeans, soy protein, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds contribute to the stellar healthy fat and protein contents.

21

Enlightened Pumpkin Spice Latte

enlightened pumpkin spice latte

½ cup: 60 calories, 1 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 65 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (5 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 6 g erythritol), 5 g protein

Enlightened transforms the otherwise guilt-ridden PSL experience with this coffee-infused dessert. You’ll get loads of real pumpkin and espresso ribbons in each bite for just—get this—60 calories and a lowly 5 grams of sugar! And that’s not all: Each half-cup serving packs in 5 grams of filling protein coming from milk protein concentrate to keep you from spooning till you reach the bottom.

22

Barnana Pumpkin Walnut Banana Brittle

barnana pumpkin walnut banana brittle

1 oz (28 g): 140 calories, 7 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 100 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (2 g fiber, 10 g sugar [4 g added sugar]), 2 g protein

Snacking just got a serious makeover with this uber-crunchy banana brittle. You’ll find just whole foods in this pick—no artificial colors, preservatives, or obscure “natural flavors”—and healthy fats coming from brain-boosting MCTs in the coconut and omega-3s from the walnuts. Just go easy with the crunching and stick to one serving to avoid overdoing it on sugar. Pumpkin Walnut Banana Brittle will be available in Whole Foods stores mid-September.

23

Cucina Antica Tuscany Pumpkin Sauce

cucina antica tuscany pumpkin pasta sauce

per ½ cup (120 g): 90 calories, 6 g fat (3.5 saturated fat), 340 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (2 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 1 g protein

Skip the red sauce and opt for spiking your pasta dish with a fall-inspired spin. Dousing whole-grain or legume-based noodles with this Tuscany pumpkin pick will lend your lunch an extra two grams of hunger-quelling fiber and a savory flavor you just can’t get enough of. While Cucina Antica’s sauce is available all year around, we can’t help but stock up on a few extra jars this season.

24

Siggi’s Pumpkin & Spice

siggis pumpkin spice

140 calories, 3 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 14 g carbs (0 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 15 g protein

Whether you need a pick-me-up post 2 p.m. slump or looking for a low-sugar snack to hold you over until dinnertime, siggi’s spiced skyr is the perfect pick. Each cup of yogurt requires about four cups of grass-fed milk—which is how siggi’s achieves its indulgent texture and high protein content. Spoon into this on its own or sprinkle in some omega-3-packed chia seeds for a satisfying crunch.

25

Yasso Pumpkin Cheesecake Bar

yasso greek yogurt pumpkin spice bar

1 bar: 120 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 60 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (0 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 5 g protein

Would you like a side of probiotics with your pumpkin-spiced dessert? If so, grab a box of Yasso’s Greek Yogurt Bars. Their Pumpkin Cheesecake flavor will hit stores this September, and will be sure to satisfy all your dessert cravings while filling you up with 5 grams of protein.

26

Alden’s Organic Pumpkin Ice Cream

Aldens organic pumpkin spice organic 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. We love that Alden’s pumpkin ice cream is organic, and that they cut the sugar count down from 20 grams last year to 17 grams this year. 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.

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