Back in the swing of things for Fall, it may be tempting to grab a granola bar  while running out the door or pick up a smoothie from a local shop, but in order to better manage your waistline and your household bottom line, you can DIY.

Take some fall staples from Starbucks. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are so ubiquitously “fall” that their have earned their own abbreviation: PSL.

Consider the average Grande (16 ounce) PSL, made with 2% milk and whipped cream.  Per 16 fluid ounces (a serving), the PSL clocks in at

  • 380 calories
  • 14 grams of fat with 8 grams of saturated, animal-derived fat
  • 240 mg of sodium (that’s 18% of your daily value)
  • 50 grams of sugars (a 16-ounce Coca-Cola has 52 g, for comparison)
  • 14 grams of protein (not terrible, but not at the cost of what comes with that protein)

The PSL is a small meal in drink format.  Think about it.  Instead of grabbing one of those for breakfast, how about making your own pumpkin-coffee smoothie, with protein and plant-based sugars instead?

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Pro tip: Make your smoothie the night before so you can grab it on your way out the door the next morning.  Not that eating on the go is good for you psychologically, but at least you’ll have your fuel, cost-effectively, to start the day.

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop plant-based vanilla protein powder (I use Garden of Life Raw Protein, or other protein powders with 20 g protein per serving)
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 medium banana, frozen
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Put all ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth.

Pour into a container and chill until ready to serve.

Nutrition: (One recipe = one serving) 261 calories, 9.5 g fat (0.8 g saturated fat), 238 mg sodium, 43.6 g carbohydrates, 18.4 g sugars, 9.3 g fiber, 19.7 g protein


Another “classic” of the fall retail season is pumpkin bread.  Usually made with all-purpose white flour, a pile of butter and eggs and sugar, and loaded with nuts, it’s a tasty treat, best kept to a single, occasional serving.  Its orange color and “granola” mix-ins belie some steep stats. 

Starbucks Pumpkin Bread, one serving (123 g):

  • Calories: 410
  • Fat: 15 g (3 g saturated)
  • Sodium: 500 g
  • Sugars: 39 g
  • Protein: 6 g

Instead of going for the ‘Bucks at breakfast or the mid-afternoon slump, what about a grain-free pumpkin bread recipe that only takes one bowl—your food processor or blender.

Grain-Free Pumpkin Bread

Recipe available on Elana’s Pantry.

To make it egg-free, substitute 1/2 cup warm water mixed with 1/4 cup ground flaxseed for the 2 eggs (total).

Nutrition: (1/16 of recipe) 102 calories, 4 g fat, 85 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 2 g protein


With two versions of some fall favorites, you can have a seasonal and tasty snack or breakfast without overindulging.

More healthy, grab-and-go breakfast recipes.

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