It’s officially pumpkin spice season.
Reviewed by Dietitian Emily Lachtrupp, M.S., RD
Some people recognize the start of fall when the air starts cooling or when the leaves start turning. But for us, autumn is here when Starbucks' famous Pumpkin Spice Latte is finally available—and the day has come.
Today, the coffee chain released their fall menu, which includes drinks we know and love alongside new soon-to-be favorites. The PSL, Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew and Apple Crisp Macchiato are back in stock, and the new beverages to try are the Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Shaken Espresso and the Iced Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte.
Since there's so many options, two of our team's dietitians did the hard work for you. Our senior nutrition editor Maria Laura Haddad-Garcia and our Pinterest editor Annie Nguyen, M.A., RD just dished on what they will be ordering this season as well as some tips on how to make the new drinks healthier. Here's what they had to say.
First, the classics. Haddad-Garcia goes for the Pumpkin Spice Latte.
"Since I love my daily cup of Joe hot and usually order hot coffee when going out, the Pumpkin Spice Latte is definitely the one for me," Haddad-Garcia said.
Here are some of her tips to make the seasonal drink a lower-sugar choice.
"To make the PSL a bit healthier, I'd skip on the whipped cream, and since it has a milk foam, it'll still have that creamy aspect," she suggested. "And I would ask for half the pumps of the pumpkin spice sauce to reduce the amount of added sugar."
Nguyen will also be going for a returning menu item this season: the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew.
"I'm a big fan of pumpkin spice and cold drinks, so I would choose the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew for my go-to fall drink," she spilled. "Since I don't like my drinks too sweet, I would do a pump of vanilla syrup instead of two for less added sugar." These tips are practical ways to lessen the amount of sugar in each sip while not completely missing out on the pumpkin flavor.
Haddad-Garcia definitely has her eye on one of the new drinks as well, and she's looking forward to trying it out.
"There's something about the Iced Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte that's calling my name," she said. "Combining a rich and creamy spiced chai with pumpkin spice sounds wonderful!"
Here's the nutritional breakdown for a small Iced Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte:
13 grams total fat
8 grams saturated fat
120 milligrams sodium
52 grams carbohydrates
50 grams total sugar
8 grams protein
If you're looking to cut down the calories and saturated fat in this drink, you can swap the whole milk for a plant-based milk alternative like oat milk, almond milk or soy milk. And this drink is packed with added sugar, but to cut that at least in half, Haddad-Garcia has some tips.
"I would ask for light pumpkin cream cold foam and half the chai pumps," she said.
Personally, I just tried the Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Shaken Espresso, and I definitely recommend it. It didn't taste too sweet, and it perfectly embraced the apple flavor.
Here's the nutrition information for a small Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Shaken Espresso:
3.5 grams total fat
0 grams saturated fat
140 milligrams sodium
25 grams carbohydrates
15 grams total sugar
1 gram protein
This beverage is definitely the lower-sugar choice when compared to the tea latte. It's surprisingly low in calories and has no saturated fat, thanks to the oat milk. If you're looking to cut down on the carbs and added sugar, request this drink with fewer pumps of apple brown sugar syrup.
Overall, all of these fall coffee and tea drinks at Starbucks sound delicious, and with slight modifications, you can enjoy them in a healthier way. At EatingWell, we believe any food or drink can be included in a healthy eating pattern when savored in moderation, so be sure to treat yourself this season.