Put Down the Pumpkin Spice Latte! 5 Healthy Alternatives to the Fall Favourite (recipes included)
by Catherine Morris | October 16, 2020, updated over 1 year ago
It's October, which can only mean one thing—we've entered pumpkin spice latte season. The PSL (as I like to call it) has become the drink for Fall, as synonymous with the season as trick or treating, backyard bonfires, and Thanksgiving.
If you're a devotee, you probably look forward to Fall all year round. We're not saying you should forego your favourites—we wouldn't dare stand between a thirsty person and their beverage of choice (plus we know how passionately the PSL crowd love their lattes), but it's worth noting that there are alternatives out there that deliver the taste and the cozy factor, without the sugar.
Hey, will the PSL kill you? No. No it won’t. But, it's not great for you, and we want to give you options so you can mix it up. PSL season may be short, but the below beverages can keep you satisfied and healthy all year round. They're also very easy to whip up at home, keeping you at home and socially distanced. All the following recipes have been extensively road tested and taste-approved by this writer (you're welcome).
For our vegan readers, swap out the milk for your favourite non-dairy alternatives—I recommend coconut milk for added flavour, and healthy fats.
Fall brings the PSL, but it also brings colds, flus, and perhaps even the much-dreaded Covid-19 second wave. Boost your immunity with turmeric, a well known anti-inflammatory and powerful antioxidant.
And it tastes great! If you love your lattes spicy, turmeric is the way to go. Mix with a touch of honey and some frothy milk, to really get a hearty autumnal treat.
Turmeric Latte (makes 1 large mug or 2 cups)
- 1 tsp ground turmeric (or a teabag of turmeric tea)
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 and 1/2 cups whole milk
Add all the ingredients to a small saucepan. Simmer over a low heat, whisking until the spices have completely dissolved and the milk turns frothy.
Cinnamon is another powerhouse, a natural sweetener that's good for your heart, your brain, and your ability to fend off nasty winter viruses. Teaming it with cocoa takes it from a health drink to a cozy cuppa.
Cinnamon Cocoa (makes a mug)
Heat all ingredients together in a saucepan until simmering. Whisk to a frothy consistency, pour into a mug and enjoy.
3.Spiced Dandelion Tea
Yes, dandelions are weeds, but they’re also loaded with minerals and antioxidants, and have a sweet earthy flavour similar to coffee, that's earned them a reputation as a delicious caffeine-free substitute. Hey, you already know we’re wild about dandelions though.
Adding Fall spices to a cup of roasted dandelion tea, along with a pinch of molasses makes for a rich brew that'll keep out the cold.
Spiced Dandelion Coffee (makes one mug)
- 1 tsp dandelion coffee (this writer used Dandy Blend)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch nutmeg
- 1 tsp blackstrap molasses
- Whole milk or cream (to taste)
Add the tea, spices and molasses to a mug, pour over just-boiled water and stir. Add milk or a dash of cream to taste.
4. Chai Coconut Latte
Pumpkin Spice Lattes deliver a great energy kick, but there's other ways to enjoy a boost without the sugar. Enter chai tea and its intrinsic caffeine hit.
Chai Coconut Latte (makes one large mug)
In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil, add the chai tea bag and let it simmer for 5 minutes while the tea steeps. Stir in the coconut milk, honey, and vanilla and whisk vigorously over a low heat until well combined and frothy.
5. Warm Nutmeg Nog
This one takes the most prep, but on snowy October days (Canada, it’s cold here), sometimes only a cup of Fall flavoured nog will do. Keep warm with this delicious blend of nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon and cream. It also has one compelling advantage over Pumpkin Spice Lattes—it pairs well with cognac or brandy. If you want to add a little something-something after a hard day, we won't judge.
Warm Nutmeg and Maple Nog (serves 2-3)
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tsps maple syrup
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup half and half
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Beat the egg yolks using an electric whisk until light and creamy. Beat the whites until they stiffen. Heat the milk, the half and half, and the vanilla in a small saucepan until just before boiling. Take off the heat and gradually pour into the yolks, whisking continuously as you do so (the mixture will thicken slightly). Fold in the egg whites, add the nutmeg and the maple syrup, and give it one final stir before enjoying.
If you want to eat healthy over the Fall/winter season and avoid the usual holiday weight gain, or maybe you’re looking for dietary guidance, reach out to one of Which Doctor's qualified dietitians, nutritionists or naturopaths to book an appointment and get started today.
Catherine Morris is an award-winning journalist with a bad case of wanderlust and a passion for all things health and wellness. Originally from Northern Ireland, she worked as a news and feature writer for media outlets in the UK, South Africa, France and the Caribbean before settling in Canada. Catherine now lives in Alberta with her husband and rescue mutt and spends her time happily exploring the great outdoors with both.