Fall is upon us, and what does that mean? The pumpkin spice fans are already lining up at Starbucks for the very first taste of the season. For those of us trying to make healthy choices, though, it’s hard to enjoy that sweet sipper without thinking about the ingredients. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a healthy pumpkin spice latte. We’ll show you how to cut back on fat, sugar and calories without sacrificing the best flavor of fall.
1. Lighten the Syrup Load
What makes the PSL so orange and sweet is the thick syrup that goes into it, and Starbucks seriously loads it up. For a hot venti PSL, you’ll get five pumps of syrup at 33 calories per pump. (That’s 165 calories before milk and whipped cream!) Venti iced lattes get even more at six pumps. To easily cut calories, ask the barista to lower the amount of syrup to two or three pumps.
2. Lose the Whipped Cream
We know—the whipped cream is everyone’s favorite part. Unfortunately, whipped cream at Starbucks is made with vanilla syrup and heavy whipping cream, which together pack a pretty sugary punch at 80 calories. You can ask the barista to omit the whipped cream and the pumpkin spice topping and enjoy the PSL without extra sugar getting in the way.
3. Substitute the Milk for Something Healthier
You might be surprised at the sugar you can avoid by experimenting with specialty milks. PSLs are typically made with 2%, but Starbucks also has soy, coconut and almond milk. Soy will provide the sweetness you crave, coconut boasts a unique flavor and frothy texture and the unsweetened almond milk is the best choice for lowering your calorie count. These will be about a 60-cent upcharge, so make sure you mention the switch to the cashier as you order.
4. Minimize Your Order
If you just can’t bear to part with the classic taste, you can always go for a smaller size. A tall with all the fixings is still 300 calories, but if you’ve got a busy day ahead, it may be the best option. Without whipped cream and with almond milk, you can chop that count almost in half to 180 calories. (And it’s just as tasty as the original.)
5. Switch It Up
Not a lot of people know this, but you can add the pumpkin spice syrup to just about anything on the menu. Keep it low-cal and high-caffeine by requesting a couple pumps in your Americano or black coffee. You can also opt for a pumpkin-flavored iced coffee with cream, which will save you both money and calories. (Here’s how to avoid paying for refills, too.)
Just make sure to thank your barista!