Get Your Pumpkin Spice Fix the Healthy Way
By Guest Blogger Danielle Michels
Pumpkin flavored everything is everywhere! Therefore, if you’re someone who loves seasonal treats and flavors, it might seem like all hope is lost until New Year’s. First comes the return of Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks then comes the peppermint mocha and before you know it you’ve turned in to a sugar zombie.
However, what most people forget is that you can still have your pumpkin spice and eat it too, without any of the negative effects that come with all the other pumpkin spiced junk that has taken over the shelves. Sure, these pumpkin treats will take you more prep work than simply buying a box of pumpkin-flavored baked Fiber One bars (yes, they exist, and no, they’re not healthy), but you’ll be happy that you still get to enjoy your seasonal flavors without the guilt, and with the addition of some health benefits to boot.
Here are some of our favorite healthy pumpkin recipes that’ll make you feel like you’re having a major splurge:
Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
Oatmeal is one of the healthiest breakfasts you can make, but add in a little pumpkin and it’ll be one of the tastiest breakfasts you can make, too. If you’re someone who gets bored with the same breakfast morning after morning, this is a great way to spice up a common pantry staple. Also, if you really don’t want any added sugar, just nix the bit of brown sugar mentioned in the recipe, it’s still just as delicious.
Pumpkin Protein Oat Bars
I love Quest bars as much as the next fitness freak, but sometimes I like to add a little variety to my protein bar selection, and I bet you do too. These bars pack in 15.4 grams of protein and although this recipe lists a higher amount of sugar, you can easily manipulate how much of the sweetening ingredients you add to reduce the overall sugar count. However, no matter how you make these pumpkin protein out bars, they’ll still serve as a good option after a hard-hitting workout session.
Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes
In my house, Sundays are for making pancakes, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Pancakes are my indulgent, slow-down meal that I never get to make during the work week rush, but indulgent doesn’t have to mean bad-for-you. These pancakes aren’t just the perfect level of pumpkin-y goodness, but they’re also fluffy and paleo.
Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites
The concept of energy bites is nothing new, but now pumpkin spice energy bite recipes are popping up all over my newsfeeds, and I have to say, this could be the best food trend combo since PB&J. The best thing about energy balls is they’re pretty easy preparation wise and they’re even easier for guys and gals who are always on the go to. Rather than grabbing a couple pumpkin spice flavored Oreos from the break room at work, chow down on your pumpkin pie energy bites and get the boost your body needs to make it through the afternoon slump.
Pumpkin Greek Yogurt Dip
Almond butter is a good dipping go-to, but swap out your typical nut butter with this pumpkin yogurt dip and you won’t be sorry. Try packing this dip in a Tupperware to eat as a protein-packed mid-morning snack, or for early risers that aren’t a fan of big breakfasts before hitting the gym, this is the perfect solution.
Dairy-Free Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream
Fall doesn’t exactly scream ice scream season, but if I’m being honest, every season is ice cream season in my house. It’s by far my biggest treat temptation, so I’m a huge fan of making nice-cream, which is dairy-free and sugar-free, so I can still get my fix the healthy way. This pumpkin spice ice cream not only tastes like the real deal, but I’m pretty sure I’d think it was tastier compared to real ice-cream that was pumpkin flavored.
Drooling yet? These recipes are proof that you can enjoy your favorite seasonal flavors in ways that are healthy and actually fuel your body instead of slowing it down with tons of added sugar and other junk that just shouldn’t be associated with a flavor based off of a vegetable.
If you try one of these recipes, let us know how you liked it and share any of your healthy seasonal treats with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We’re always looking for new foods to add to our fit fuel arsenal!
Images and Recipes via: ifoodreal / House of Yumm / Paleo Grubs / The Melrose Family / The Artisan Life / In Sonnet’s Kitchen