Fall is knocking on our door, which means chunky sweaters, crunchy leaves, and pumpkin spice everything. This popular flavor is like fall in a cup, but it’s often used in ways that send your blood sugar soaring. If you have diabetes, you may be wondering: can I really take part in the pumpkin spice life?
While pumpkin is a great pick for people with diabetes – it’s high in fiber and vitamins but low in carbs – that shot of spice carries a lot of scary sweetness. The good news is, there are plenty of pumpkin recipes that capture that fall flavor without harming your health. Let’s take a peek at some of our favorite diabetes-friendly pumpkin recipes to take the fright out of your fall menu.
1. Pumpkin Spice Latte
A classic! But did you know most coffee joints pack their PSLs with added sugar? Why not create your own, diabetes-friendly version at home? Opt for almond or coconut milk, a spoon of pure pumpkin puree, a pinch of pumpkin spice, a dash of vanilla extract, and a sugar substitute of your choice. Mix it all up, heat it, add it to a cup of freshly-brewed coffee, and voilà! Pumpkin euphoria in a mug. Here’s a recipe so you can follow along at home.
2. Pumpkin Chia Seed Pudding
Talk about a power-packed pumpkin treat! This simple recipe is easy to make and packed with fiber, omega-3s, and the sweet taste of pumpkin pie. To make it at home, simply mix together ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk, 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, a pinch of pumpkin spice blend, and a sugar substitute to taste. Pour your mixture into an air-tight jar and let it set in the fridge overnight. The next morning, you’ll be greeting the day with a high-fiber, low-carb, pumpkin-infused delight.
3. Pumpkin Soup
Now, here’s where things get souper interesting (see what we did there?). A creamy, diabetes-friendly pumpkin soup to warm your soul. This recipe from Food.com combines pure pumpkin puree, warm chicken broth, sweet brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice for a cozy bowl of (low-carb) goodness. Plus, it’s ready in under half an hour!
4. Pumpkin Pie
No pumpkin recipe list is complete without the classic pumpkin pie. This version from the American Diabetes Association uses a Splenda blend to cut down on sugar, and a low-fat crust seasoned with crystallized ginger and maple syrup for an extra boost of fall flavor.
5. Pumpkin Bread
Nothing says fall like a warm slice of fresh-baked pumpkin bread. But the traditional loaves are packed with carbs and excess sugar that can send your blood sugar on the rise. Try this recipe from Diabetic Gourmet Magazine for a sugar-free treat made with creamy yogurt instead of eggs and oil, whole-wheat flour, and a generous dash of cinnamon.
With a little creativity and some smart ingredient swaps, these recipes can make your pumpkin spice dreams come true. When planning your new pumpkin menu, remember to choose your ingredients carefully. Store-bought canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie filling can be full of added sugars and other harmful additives. Read the labels carefully – or better yet, make your own puree from fresh pumpkins. And always keep those testing supplies at hand, just in case your pumpkin decides to play tricks instead of giving treats!