It’s here. Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced Latte Season. It starts late September and runs until mid-November before their holiday candy cane and gingerbread lattes arrive. The other day I was visiting with some friends and talking about how fall is officially here and it’s time to bring out the jackets and boots and clean the eavestroughs before winter. I suggested that the weather is still so beautiful and I think we still have some warm weather ahead. “Nope…” was the reply “it’s getting cold! Starbucks has released the Pumpkin Spiced Latte!” I think it’s funny how a large coffee company can dictate the changing of the seasons better than nature can.
This drink has become a symbol of fall just as much as scarecrows, plaid scarves, and fallen leaves. I admit that I love Pumpkin Spiced Latte. Out of curiosity, I looked into the nutritional content of this drink (I know–why would I do that, right?). A Grande latte with no whipped cream comes in at about 310 calories. I am not a big calorie counter and rarely speak about calories. For me, it isn’t the calories in my food so much, but the nutrient density that is important. The nutritional profile of this Grande Pumpkin Spiced Latte also includes 230 mg of sodium, 4 grams of saturated fat, 25 mg of cholesterol and 48 grams of sugar.
Before you send me hate mail for sharing this information about this universally beloved latte, I am not suggesting we should not order it. I believe in balance; we all need to have occasional treats and indulgences. So if we all (myself included) want to enjoy a few pumpkin-spiced lattes over the season, that’s our choice; but, if I want to enjoy some pumpkin and spice flavor every day is there a more a nutritious way of doing it?
This got me thinking about the types of easy foods I often enjoy on a daily basis, smoothies, juices and … chia puddings! Chia pudding is an easy recipe to make ahead of time and keep jars in the fridge for a grab-and-go breakfast or snack. The Chia seeds become gelatinous as they absorb the liquid and flavors around them and create a lovely pudding.
Chia is a powerhouse of nutrition in that it supports movement through the gastrointestinal track, helps you feel full, and one ounce contains 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 5 grams of healthy fats (omega 3’s), and a ton of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins. One ounce contains only 137 calories while providing one gram of digestible carbohydrates. If you want to learn more about chia seeds, check out my Benefits of Chia Seeds post. Also, consuming pumpkin without its antioxidant benefits seems like a wasted opportunity, seeing that only 1 cup of pumpkin flesh has over 200% of your daily Vitamin A requirements, along with powerful antioxidant prosperities.
So, by combining these nutritious little seeds, beta-carotene rich pumpkin, warming spices and a little organic dark roasted coffee we obtain a healthy spin-off of our favorite fall latte. This is a pudding I can eat every day, nourishing my body and satisfying cravings for that pumpkin spice flavor. Win-Win.
Pumpkin Spiced Latte Chia Pudding
- 1 cup almond or coconut milk
- 1/4 cup brewed dark roasted organic coffee
- 3 tbsp chia seeds
- 1.5 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp clove
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ginger
- 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin puree
- Mix chia and spices in a bowl.
- Add maple syrup, milk, and coffee and whisk together. Stir in the pumpkin puree and mix well.
- If the pudding looks a little too thick you can add some additional milk, a little at a time
- Scoop the mixture into jars, secure the lids, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Enjoy!