Power to the Pumpkin!

Power to the Pumpkin!

by Edel Joyce (PN’s 2019 dietetic intern)

On Tuesday August 27th, 2019, the annual outbreak struck the American nation once again, but this time even earlier to slowly savor the sweet: Pumpkin Spiced Latte Season! Also known as PSL, the pumpkin spiced latte is Starbucks’ best-selling seasonal drink that has swept its influence world-wide. I personally have never had a taste of the infamous beverage, so in honor and integrity of writing this blog, I still haven’t! Another door was opened and instead my eye was hooked at the sight of their new addition, Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew -with my personalized request for soy milk. My bamboo straw took an ice-cold dip and as an occasional coffee drinker, I’d say it was a sweet treat, especially under the Floridian sun.

Notice that the key word in that last sentence was treat. In a 2017 national survey study commissioned by the American Coffee Association, it was reported that 64% of Americans have at least one cup of coffee daily. That is approximately 2/3 of America running on coffee! Looks like the slogan “America runs on Dunkin” really does stand its (coffee) grounds. On a pit stop at Starbucks for a caffeine fix before work, a standard grande pumpkin spiced latte contains 8 grams of saturated fat (almost half of daily intake per 2000 kcal diet), 150mg of caffeine, and a whopping 50 grams of sugar which hits about twice the daily intake for added sugars (25g/day for women, 38g/day for men by American Heart Association)! The pleasurable taste of pumpkin spice sauce, whipped cream, and vanilla syrup make for a delicate dessert treat, so maybe it wouldn’t be the best idea to jumpstart every morning with a formula that is bound for an afternoon crash followed by a sugar craving to reach that sugar high yet again.

Fortunately, these literal highs and lows in our blood sugar levels and blood cholesterol can be tamed with another seasonal pumpkin delicacy! Made with real pumpkin, our Power Pumpkin Oatmeal is packed with flavor and a sky-high nutrition profile that your body and taste buds will thank you for. Further creativity is always welcome in any bowl of oatmeal, you can dress it up even further with blueberries and walnuts or keep it sweet and simple with sliced bananas and milk of choice. Let your bowl reflect you and your boss intentions for the day!

Pumpkins are round and plumped with vitamins and minerals to promote us a stronger immune system, healthy skin, and lots of fiber for a healthy, happy gut. Just by looking at pumpkins, their orange color also indicates the presence of carotenoids-a powerful antioxidant to fight off the up-to-no-good. The best part is that pumpkins aren’t only limited to specialty coffee drinks, oatmeal, and Aunt Betty’s pumpkin pie. When purchased canned and organic or fresh, pumpkins can be made into a pumpkin soup, packed for convenience into heatless protein bars, sliced and cubed into a colorful salad, added unto a gourmet pizza, and even simply into grilled and roasted pumpkin wedges for a quick ‘n easy snack. May every morning be a tastier one to wake up to. Power to the pumpkin!