As the summer comes to an end, it is officially time to bring out the spooky jack-o-lanterns, fall sweaters, and of course – all things pumpkin. On Instagram and Pinterest, your feeds will be bursting with pumpkin recipes! Not to mention your favorite food companies will come out with their seasonal favorites, often including pumpkin pie energy bars, breads, and drinks.
… and then there’s Starbucks. The global coffee chain has honestly created a revolution surrounding their world-renowned Pumpkin Spice Latte, or shall I say PSL. In fact, Starbucks brought back the PSL on August 28th, which has been its earliest official launch date in history!
Now let’s be honest, pumpkin is everywhere! Even better, it definitely isn’t a bad thing… especially because pumpkin is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber. However, most pumpkin spice lattes served at a coffee shop probably don’t even contain pumpkin.
Looking at Starbucks Nutrition Facts, a grande PSL with whole milk and whipped cream packs 420 calories, 52 grams carbohydrate, 14 grams protein, 18 grams fat… and 50 grams of sugar! Before you head into your local Starbucks and start chugging all things pumpkin, here are some tips to make your PSL a little healthier!
Order a short. By replacing your grande PSL with a short, you’ll save between 170-250 calories per order! Not to mention you’ll drastically reduce the carbohydrates, sugars, and sodium that are loaded in this traditional holiday beverage. Instead, save those sizes for regular coffee orders.
Use non-fat milk. By replacing your whole milk with non-fat milk, you’ll save roughly 100 calories in your grande PSL order. However, both pack the same amount of sugars according to Starbucks website.
Order ½ the pumps of syrup. My biggest tip for cutting calories and sugar on any Starbucks order is ordering fewer syrup pumps. By changing the amount of pumps the barista adds, you’ll save yourself about 8 grams of added sugar per pump! Not to mention a grande PSL packs 4 pumps, making it filled with 30 grams of added sugar just from the syrup alone.
Skip the whipped cream. Skipping the whipped cream on any order will save you a whopping 70 calories at Starbucks! Multiply that by 5 days per week if you order from Starbucks every day before work, and you save 350 calories per week and 1,400 calories per month.
Despite Starbucks PSL being high in sugar and processed ingredients, you still can enjoy it this holiday season. While calories, sugar, and ingredients do matter… I want to reiterate that they shouldn’t stress you out! As a registered dietitian, I am never here to food-shame or make ANYONE feel guilty for eating food they enjoy. In fact, I love food! But I also am realistic, and understand that a Starbucks PSL does not even contain real pumpkin and isn’t the most healthful food on their menu.