Summer is gone. Pools are covered. The barbecues have finished. Enter: The Pumpkin. Pumpkins are a fall classic, but lately they’ve been over-harvested by mindless lines of latte-loving drones and unironic hipsters. But despite what you may have seen, you don’t actually need to own a Pomeranian to enjoy pumpkin. You want basic? Here: It’s a squash. It grows in the ground. Eat it.
But be careful. Don’t get lazy with your nutrition. There’s a difference between accruing mass and expanding ass. Most of that pumpkin-flavored stuff is full of empty carbs. There are plenty of great pumpkin alternates to a rich slice of fat or a Venti cup of pure sugar. Everyone else is going crazy for that orange squash, so here are a few less basic ways to get seasonal.
Yes, it’s a pumpkin protein bar. And, yes, it’s goddamn delicious. In between classes and on the way to the game, this one’s ready to go as quickly as you are. It’s covered in a pumpkiny-flavored white chocolate. And with a layer of graham-cracker crust (eat your heart out, ordinary pumpkin pies), this bar’s got all the amazing flavor you’d expect but without the long lines, UGG boots and basic BS. Plus, it’s got 21 grams of protein to cover the most important base of all. You also can cook with it, which is why it serves as an ingredient in the next few items on this list.
Get yours here.
2. Protein Pumpkin Pie (actual pie)
Trade in the carbs and sugars; go for the protein instead. Just because you’re bulking doesn’t mean you have to be sloppy about it. Trust us, this pie is literally the best thing that’s happened to dessert since whipped cream. Even the turkey won’t mind being on your table this Thanksgiving if it means he’s got a shot at even one slice of this pie.
Get the Protein Pumpkin Pie recipe
3. Protein Pumpkin Pie Latte
If you MUST have a pumpkin latte, at least make it a protein one. This one uses the Pumpkin Pie Quest Bar, too, so if you’re not stocked up yet, then grab a box and start mixing! This latte’s caffeine-free, so you could even have a latte instead of a shake for your evening postworkout. It’s perfect for anytime snackage (we like it after dinner to get some protein before bed), but you could add a teaspoon of instant espresso if you need that extra jolt you’re used to having from the other pumpkin latte that comes around this time of year. Go ahead, sip away at all those pumpkin cravings.
Get the Protein Pumpkin Pie Latte recipe
4. Protein Pumpkin Loaf With Cream Cheese
One cannot live on pumpkin alone, but you sure can try. If you want to make the most of your favorite seasonal flavor, bake a loaf of it. Not every late-night snack has to be a guilty one, so at least for the fall, make it a smart one. Top it off with a dollop of lean cream cheese and you’re a bona fide chef. PRO TIP: Make two. The first one won’t have any trouble getting eaten.
FYI: You better make a second loaf.
Get the Protein Pumpkin Loaf recipe
5. Protein Pumpkin Ice Cream
Pumpkin may very well be Mother Nature’s most versatile food since the potato. We can only hope there will never be a Great Pumpkin Famine. Cool off from the leftover summer heat with this ice-cold pumpkin surprise, or eat it year-round if you live somewhere like SoCal, where apparently fall means nothing!
Get the Protein Pumpkin Ice Cream recipe