Try a guilt-free, homemade version of this seasonal favorite
At this time of year, you don’t need to go far before coming across the now-ubiquitous seasonal coffee: the pumpkin spice latte. The ‘PSL’ has achieved cult status in recent years, and it’s not surprising, given the delicious combination of espresso, hot milk, and warming fall flavors.
However, shop-bought versions are extremely high in calories, with some tipping the scale at around 400 calories, depending on the size chosen. This completely plant-based alternative is lower in calories and cost, but still has all the warmth and flavor that make the pumpkin spice latte so popular.
A wholesome alternative without the sugar spikes
Made with coffee, almond milk, spices, and real pumpkin puree, this plant-based version of the pumpkin spice latte is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. It is low in fat and very low in sugar, using natural sweeteners instead of the refined sugar and artificial pumpkin syrup found in traditional versions.
The high sugar content in traditional pumpkin spice lattes wreaks havoc with our energy levels. Suddenly consuming a high amount of sugar in this way gives our body a quick burst of energy, which promptly leads to a slump and headaches later on. The benefits of choosing food and drink options that are lower in sugar include more stable blood sugar and insulin levels, reduced cravings, consistent energy levels, and over time, weight loss.
Too much sugar has been associated with many health issues, largely because of its inflammatory properties. Excessive amounts of sugar have been linked to diabetes, metabolic dysfunction, Alzheimer’s Disease, liver damage, and even cancer. What’s more, the sluggish feeling that follows a sugar spike can lead to a desire for more sweet foods, resulting in ongoing sugar cravings.
Similarly, the high amounts of dairy milk in traditional lattes often causes upset to the body’s digestive system. Opting for a plant-based milk makes this drink easier to digest, as well as lowering the sugar and calorie content. Plant-based milks often contain higher levels of calcium than dairy milk, which is important for healthy bones. Using unsweetened milk, particularly when combined with spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, helps to keep blood sugar stable and prevent and increase in glucose levels.
Finally, using real pumpkin in this drink gives a little extra boost of vegetable goodness. Pumpkin has been shown to contribute to a healthy heart, thanks to its vitamin C, potassium, and fiber content. It is also associated with eye health and improved sleep. The pumpkin does create a somewhat gritty texture if not stirred thoroughly or left to sit, so be sure to mix well before drinking.
The perfect drink for pumpkin leftovers
This drink is an ideal option if you have some leftover pumpkin puree that needs using up. Simply heat some milk in a pan, stir in a tablespoon of pumpkin puree, and whisk until smooth. As it starts to bubble, add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, and brew the coffee. Once both are ready, pour the milk mixture into the coffee and top with an extra sprinkling of cinnamon. If you’re feeling indulgent, add a dollop of coconut cream on top.
Healthy Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte
¾ cup espresso or strong coffee
1 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp pumpkin puree
½ Tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
- Heat the milk and pumpkin puree in a small pan, stirring well to combine.
- Add the maple syrup and ground spices.
- Allow the mixture to simmer gently for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, brew the coffee.
- Pour the coffee in a mug or tall glass and add the milk mixture. Add a pinch of cinnamon or cocoa on top to serve.
- You can substitute any kind of milk for the almond milk.
- You can use natural stevia drops as a sweetener, rather than maple syrup.
- Use real pumpkin puree rather than pumpkin pie mix if possible, as this tends to have additional preservatives and sweeteners. Canned pumpkin puree is fine.
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