by Randi Tedford, MA, RD
Image by boyarkinamarina on Freepik
Fall is here and we all know what that means… everything PUMPKIN SPICE!!! Pies, cakes, cookies, lattes, shakes, soups, crackers, cookies, cream cheese spread, creamers, milks, cringles, you name it and they have a pumpkin flavor for it! My husband dreads the words “I’m going to Trader Joe’s” during this time of year. He knows I won’t be coming home with just the necessities. I prepare myself for one massive eye roll as he sees that our entire pantry has turned orange. Oops!
They don’t quite make it easy, you know? I am quite the coffee consumer. It is my drink of choice, hands down. They make pumpkin spice coffee, lattes, almond milk flavoring, creamer… the whole aisle is basically dedicated to pumpkin spice. I give them props. But… what gets me is everything that pairs incredibly well with your cup of coffee. The biscotti, the cringle, the pumpkin spice cookies, the shortbread cookies, the ice cream. How does one simply resist?!
My short answer – you don’t.
My longer answer – everything has a place in moderation.
Moderation… what does that look like?
Here’s one example – you go to Starbucks with your friend and they order a Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte with an extra shot of espresso, 2 extra pumps of pumpkin spice, and cold foam. They turn to you, tell you they order the same drink every day before work, and say with a laugh “tis the season, am I right?”
Now, it’s your turn to order. Here are some things to keep in mind: How often do you get a coffee beverage? How large is that beverage? Same with what we buy from the store. “ ‘Tis the Season” is right, and you should enjoy it while it’s here. That may look different for everyone, but maybe it’s enjoying one latte a week instead of one or two every day of the week, or picking one pumpkin spice treat from the grocery store instead of five.
Do you know the spices in the infamous “Pumpkin Spice”? Pumpkin Spice is a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and sometimes allspice – all noted to have health benefits. Recent studies indicate Cinnamon has the potential to lower blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol and reduce triglyceride levels. Nutmeg is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds and can also aid in dental health with its antibacterial properties. Cloves are also high in antioxidants and are a great source of Manganese (an essential mineral for metabolism, brain function and strong bones), Fiber and Vitamin K. Ginger contains gingerol, which has multiple medicinal properties. We typically hear of ginger helping with nausea, even morning sickness during pregnancy. Lastly, Allspice has anti-inflammatory properties, is rich in antioxidants and has potential for antibacterial properties. Want to learn more about antioxidants? Visit the following link from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: Antioxidants: In Depth | NCCIH (nih.gov).
Try making your own Pumpkin Spice blend at home! In the comfort of your home, you can save some $$$, create dishes and try new recipes according to your own preferences.
DIY Pumpkin Spice Blend:
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Some of your favorite pumpkin food choices may even be made with real pumpkin as an ingredient. Pumpkin is an excellent source of Vitamin A and Fiber, as well as a good source of Vitamin C and Calcium.
- Roasted Pumpkin (https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/276595/roasted-pumpkin-and-goat-cheese-crostini/)
- Pumpkin Bread (https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/6820/downeast-maine-pumpkin-bread/)
- Pumpkin Muffins (https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/68745/decadent-pumpkin-muffins/)
- Fluff Dip (https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/24740/pumpkin-fluff-dip/)
Enjoy the Pumpkin Spice Season while it’s upon us!