Written by Jacqui Campbell MS, RD, CDN
I think every year the stores roll out more “pumpkin spice” flavored and scented
things than the last. Some of the odd things spotted so far this year include pumpkin chicken sausage and pumpkin spice dish soap. I personally think that’s going too far and I am a sucker for all things pumpkin. The thing is, I love PUMPKIN things, not PUMPKIN SPICE, so I’m always on the hunt for things made with REAL pumpkin and not just added cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and orange food coloring. So while this guy spent two weeks eating ALL THINGS PUMPKIN, I decided to try to find decent pumpkin products that are gluten free, dairy free, and even paleo.
This year’s top finds so far:
Larabar Pumpkin Pie – paleo approved! Ingredients: Dates, cashews, almonds, dried pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger. If you like Larabars and pumpkin you’ll love this fall treat.
KIND Caramel almond pumpkin spice – I got super excited about this because I love KIND bars. Downside is the caramel contains ‘milk powder’ so they are not dairy free.
Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Almond Beverage – tasty almond milk with real pumpkin and spices. I really liked this and was happy to see it is sweetened with cane sugar instead of stevia like the So Delicious brand I tried last year. I think this would taste great in coffee, tea, smoothies or anything you might normally add almond milk to. Use it to make your own paleo pumpkin spice latte! Be aware it does have 15g sugar per cup though.
Trader Joe’s Cold Pressed Pumpkin Harvest Juice – if you’re a fan of green juices this is for you. Every bottle of Pumpkin Harvest Juice contains 10.5 ounces of pumpkin, 2 carrots, 3/4 stalk of celery, 1/8 sweet potato, 1 inch of ginger, and a hearty pinch of turmeric. Paleo approved, but like all juices it’s important to be mindful of the naturally occurring sugar from the starchy vegetables – 23g per bottle. Make sure to have with some nuts or other source of protein to balance the carbohydrates.
Pumpkin Spice Cheerios – gluten free, dairy free (not paleo as they are grain-based). These are actually made with pumpkin puree and are quite tasty. I used them to make snack bars by mixing in chopped pecans and raisins and using peanut butter and honey to keep them together. Trader Joe’s also makes similar cereal called Joe’s Pumpkin O’s which I tried last year and found to be a little less strong on the spice (still gluten and dairy free).
Other healthy ways to enjoy pumpkin:
Healthy Pumpkin Pie Smoothie – A favorite of mine and so easy to make.
- 1 cup dairy-free milk
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ frozen banana
- 1 TBSP almond butter
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- Optional sweetener: honey, maple syrup or dates
Paleo Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer – avoid the chemicals and dairy found in the store bought creamers and make your own using canned coconut milk, pumpkin, and spices. I’ve made this recipe before and it’s delicious.
Pumpkin Porridge – try this as an alternative to oatmeal in the morning
- ½ cup pumpkin puree canned
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp honey.
Mix ingredients together. May eat at room temperature or microwave for 30-60 seconds.
4-Ingredient Pumpkin Pancakes
- 2 eggs, beat
- ½ banana, ripe and mashed
- 2TBSP pumpkin puree
- Dash of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon and nutmeg
Mix together banana, pumpkin and spices. Add eggs. Heat pan on medium heat and grease pan with coconut oil or oil of your choice before pouring batter.
**Make sure when buying canned pumpkin you get “100% pure pumpkin” and pumpkin is the only ingredient. You do not want “pumpkin pie mix” which has added sugar and spices.
Feeling ambitious? Follow these instructions to make your own pumpkin puree.
Want more? Check out 25 Paleo Pumpkin Recipes here.
What’s your favorite pumpkin product or recipe?
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Know someone who could use a hefty dose of pumpkin? Don’t forget to share!