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6 Ways To Make Pumpkin Spice Up Your Life (And your health!)

Photo credit: iStock/Andrea Carolina Sanchez Gonzalez

Photo credit: iStock/Andrea Carolina Sanchez Gonzalez 

When it comes to fall foods, pumpkin-spiced anything (and everything) gets all the praise. But, all those pumpkin-spiced treats can start to take their toll on your waistline if you nosh on them in the form of cookies, lattes and cheesecakes.

Your relationship with pumpkin doesn’t have to come at the expense of fitting into your favorite jeans. In fact, there are dozens of health benefits looming in the ingredients of pumpkin spice: Cinnamon helps improve circulation, according to 2014 study. Ginger is great for soothing an upset stomach. Nutmeg is a natural remedy for insomnia. And allspice doesn’t just smell amazing, studies link it to being a mild pain reliever.

The problem lies in how we consume pumpkin spice. Drinks and snacks with added sugar are the true culprits. That’s what’s really has your fitness-crazed friends shaking their heads at your “skinny” PSL. Instead of sipping on the added sugar this fall, try these tasty (healthy) alternatives, instead.

Whip it up! Smoothies are the perfect on-the-go option for the chronically late. But it takes a fine balance of ingredients to make sure your smoothie quells your hunger till lunchtime. This pumpkin spice smoothie includes actual pumpkin, banana, almond milk and a scoop of protein power to jumpstart your morning with all the right ingredients.

Warm it up. For chilly mornings when a smoothie just doesn’t feel right, try a warm cup of pumpkin spice tea, instead. Brew the perfect cup by pouring 212-degree water over chai pumpkin spice tea bags and seeping for about five minutes. This blend packs all spice you love without the added sugar of a latte.

Stack it high. Make brunch-worthy pancakes at home. A short stack of these pumpkin spice protein pancakes packs nearly 32 grams of protein!

Make it ahead. For hectic mornings, this pumpkin spice overnight oats recipe is your knight in shining Mason jar. Make a jar the night before a busy day or a few jars on Sunday night to be prepared for the week ahead.

Have it on the side. For a more savory lunch, dinner or side dish, this Harvest Wild Rice Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette is the perfect pairing to a fall feast. Make a bowl and pack leftovers for lunch the next day!

Bake it. Suffer from a sweet tooth? These baked pumpkin spice apples are a clean eater’s happy alternative to apple pie. Plus, with only five ingredients, they’re also way easier to make!

Hit the trail. Pack this pumpkin spice trail mix and head out for a hike. You can nosh on the goodness of heart-healthy almonds, magnesium-rich pumpkin seeds and a hint of cinnamon while you take in the fall foliage.

For more information on how to upgrade your current nutrition see how Independence Blue Cross can be a part of your plan for health and wellness.