4 Better-For-You Fall Favorites

by Ashley Martinez, MFN, RD, LD, NASM-CPT

Last Updated: September 29, 2020

Cooler temperatures and sweater weather have most of us craving those delicious and indulgent spiced fall drinks. Warm cider, hot chocolate, and pumpkin spiced lattes are just a few favorites, all of which are sweet to the heart and soul. But with that punch of sweetness comes many added sugars, an important consideration when consuming these traditional drinks regularly. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting added sugar consumption to 25 grams (6 tsp) or less per day for women and children, and 38 grams (9 tsp) or less per day for men. Added sugars include sugars that are incorporated during the processing of foods, such as sucrose or dextrose, table sugar, syrups and honey, as well as sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices. Naturally occurring sugars found in milk, fruits, and vegetables are not included in this recommendation. Some of these popular fall drinks contain 50 grams of added sugar or double in just one serving.

When it comes to sugar-sweetened beverages, there are benefits to eating your calories as opposed to drinking them, which is why keeping the sugar under control is important. You’ll find that these drink recipes are still packed with sweetness and flavor, while containing more nourishing ingredients. Take advantage of the season and the flavors it has to offer with one of these four lower-sugar drink recipes.
  1. Golden milk
    A warm, yet spice-driven beverage, golden milk continues to be a popular fall favorite not just for its flavor, but for its nutritional benefits too. Turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, and cardamom, are a few of the main spices that make up this concoction, which may have anti-inflammatory properties. Here’s how to make a simple, high protein golden milk.
    • 1 cup Vanilla CarbMaster Milk
    • 1 tsp turmeric
    • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/8 tsp ginger
    • Pinch of black pepper
    • 1 tsp honey (optional)

    Directions: Heat milk in microwave for 1.5 minutes or heat over saucepan on low. Add spices in and mix well. Serve.
  2. Hot chocolate
    Chocolate gets a bad reputation because of the sugars that are typically added to it, but using unsweetened cacao powder avoids the excess sugar. Even better, Kroger CarbMaster Chocolate Milk provides a rich, smooth flavor similar to hot chocolate. Just warm it up, add a few spices, and there you have it – a lower sugar, high protein hot chocolate.
    Directions: Heat milk in microwave for 1.5 minutes or heat over saucepan on low. Add cacao powder and cinnamon; mix well. Serve.
  3. Apple cider
    Apple cider is a must for fall. When selecting an apple cider, be sure you’re purchasing 100% apple cider. More often than not, brands will add more sugar to shelf-stable cider when in fact, it tastes sweet enough just as it is. Enhance the apple notes of the beverage by warming it up in the microwave or on the stove, stirring with a cinnamon stick. Feel free to add a few thinly sliced apples, cranberries, or cherry slices to steep into the warm cider.
    • 1 cup 100% apple cider
    • 1/4 cup fresh cherries
    • 1 cinnamon stick

    Directions: Heat apple cider for 1 minute in the microwave. Stir cherries at the bottom of the cup, then add cider and mix with a cinnamon stick.
  4. Pumpkin spice smoothie
    A meal replacement shake that does it all! Fall flavors, high protein, and low sugar are the highlights of this delightful treat. There are no added sugars in the recipe as the date and banana sweeten the drink.
    • 1 date
    • 1/2 banana, frozen
    • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice seasoning
    • 2 TBSP peanut butter or almond butter
    • 1 scoop Simple Truth Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
    • 1 cup Kroger CarbMaster Milk
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 cup Simple Truth Spinach

    Directions: Combine all ingredients and blend.

Share these recipes with family or friends so they can taste the similarities to their favorite fall drinks. For more personalized recipes and recommendations, schedule a Telenutrition appointment today.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.


Ashley Martinez, MFN, RD, LD, NASM-CPT

Ashley Martinez, MFN, RD, LD, NASM-CPT

Eating is all about the experience, and Ashley believes no food should be off limits. As a non-diet, culinary-focused dietitian, Ashley helps others practice the art of intuitive eating, leading to a successful, guilt-free relationship with food. As a personal trainer, incorporating fitness into her routine is also an important part of Ashley’s balanced approach to wellness. She’s got you covered with expert info on everything from blueberries to burpees.