We go as pumpkin crazy as you every fall. That's why we document nearly every new product or food we see here for you: pizza, churros, even deodorant. We know how to find 'em, and we certainly know how to eat 'em, but pumpkin's not exactly a superfood — especially when it's sugared-up, whipped cream-topped, or chocolate-covered. So we got Maggie Michalczyk, RDN (a nutritionist with a penchant for gourds) to talk us through the healthiest pumpkin eats you can find at chain spots.
The grande PSLs here pack 50 grams of sugar, which is a pretty scary way to start your day. Instead, Michalczyk recommends you hack the system: Order a tall pumpkin spice latter with one pump pumpkin sauce, non-fat milk, and no whip. The pumpkin sauce is thick, Michalczyk argues, so one pump offers plenty of flavor.
As far as the pumpkin treats behind the bakery cases go, you should steer clear of the scones. They come in at a whopping 500 calories with 44 grams of sugar. The cheesecake bar looks more decadent, but it's actually nearly 200 calories less with almost half the sugar.
DD's fall menu has plenty of pumpkin going on. There are lattes, donuts, muffins, and cream cheese. Michalczyk says it's best to show restraint and just get a couple pumpkin Munchkins. They're only 60 calories a pop, and they'll fill you up alongside a regular ol' cup of coffee.
If you can't resist the return of Auntie Anne's pumpkin pretzel nuggets, then you're only human. But Michalczyk warns, you should bring another human on your eating expedition. The pumpkin "spices" are actually just a layer of sugar. Share the bites — and skip the sweet glaze dip. It's got absolutely no nutritional value, plus it has 38 grams of sugar.
Au Bon Pain
The pumpkin pie bon tart here is just a glorified Pop-Tart, says Michalczyk, meaning it's low in nutrition and high in sugar. She suggests chowing down on the bonte cristo sandwich, which includes fresh turkey breast, ham, swiss and maple pumpkin butter on a warm croissant. The sweet and savory lunch is a total hit, according to Michalczyk. You'll get your pumpkin fix, but the protein will keep you wanting from wanting anything more.
The burger joint is famous for its frozen custard, and Michalczyk insists you don't need to deprive yourself. When you order the pumpkin gingerbread concrete mixer — which has creamy pumpkin custard and cookie pieces galore — just make it a mini. The smaller size will keep your portions in check. Plus, it's plenty this time of year, when the temperature is still warm enough for a cold treat but cool enough to make us crave fall flavors.
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