The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte boasts a cult-like status, with fans tweeting for weeks in anticipation of the sweet drink's seasonal release.
The drink has come to signal fall, but it also signals the start of the holiday eating season. For those of us on the Badass Journey, this is a tricky time.The Badass path can quickly become the gumdrop-riddled path in the Candyland board game - all sugar and decadence, few green veggies.
You know the drill: The Pumpkin Spice Latte begets Halloween candy, which begets Thanksgiving and leftovers, which begets holiday parties and Christmas and Hannukah meals, which begets that number on the scale that sends us into "resolution mode" come January 1.
But there is a better way with pumpkin. It is, inherently, a Badass-approved food. Canned pumpkin contains only 40 calories in a ½ cup serving, plus potassium, Vitamin A and fiber. Pumpkin seeds are a great alternative to sunflower seeds in recipes and snacking. Heck, even the Starbucks latte can be "saved," nutritionally speaking.
So as we move deeper into fall, try these Five Badass Ways with Pumpkin:
1. Lighten the Latte: A Grande latte with 2 percent milk and whipped cream is about 400 calories - yes, a meal's worth - plus 13 grams of fat and 51 grams of carbs most of it sugar carbs. But if you go a size down, use skim milk and skip the whip you can have your latte fix for just 200 calories, zero fat, and 38 carbs.
2. Make chocolate pumpkin 'pudding': Add 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin to 3/4 cup of Greek nonfat yogurt, plus a half scoop of chocolate protein powder, cinnamon, and for extra sweetness add a touch of agave nectar or Stevia. This will pack a protein and fiber punch - but is low in carbs and less than 250 calories. I officially give all of us in the Badass Army permission to eat this for breakfast!
3. Pumpkin vs Butter: In baking, replace half the called-for butter with canned pumpkin - a similar tactic to lightening recipes by using apple butter. It will add a rich layer of flavor while retaining baked goods' moisture, for fewer calories and less fat.
4. Make your own caffeinated pumpkin smoothie: If you like the Pumpkin Spice Latte, try making a chilled version for breakfast on the go or a mid-afternoon/after-dinner treat. This is a healthier way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Mix 1/2 cup Greek nonfat yogurt with 1/2 cup canned pumpkin. Add in Stevia or agave nectar, cinnamon and nutmeg, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chilled coffee. Blend with ice cubes and voila!
5. Pumpkin Pie Oats: (This is Badass Foodie Kirsten's fave) Add ½ cup of canned pumpkin, 2 packets of low calorie sweetener (Stevia, Splenda, or use 1 tsp of agave nectar or honey) and 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg. Warm, filling, delicious!
Coming this week: A combo-moves workout that makes the most of your time; This blog, two years later; and the return of the Friday Confessional...
PS: If you haven't heard yet, this blog was nominated as among the best out there by Shape Magazine. I kinda feel outta my league on this one, but if you're so inclined Vote for Badass Fitness here and spread the word