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4 Crustless Pumpkin Treats That Are 200 Calories or Less

by
author image Jess Barron
Jess Barron is head of editorial at LIVESTRONG.COM.She has appeared on MSNBC's "The Most," ABC News Now, and XM satellite radio. Barron's writing has appeared on Wired.com, Yahoo! and Poprocks.com.
4 Crustless Pumpkin Treats That Are 200 Calories or Less
Enjoy pumpkin desserts without remorse with these low-calorie treats. Photo Credit Gracie Wilson/LIVESTRONG.COM

I’m obsessed with pumpkin pie. Confession: I once ate an entire pumpkin pie by myself in one sitting. For breakfast.

Apparently, I’m not the only person obsessed with pumpkin pie. Libby’s (the largest pumpkin grower in the U.S.) estimates that 50 million pumpkin pies are consumed in the U.S. each year. What really impresses me is that over 10,000 slices of pumpkin pie were tracked on MyPlate, LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker during this week last November. Logging in on the holidays to input your holiday dessert indulgences shows your commitment.

If you're among the people tracking your food on Thanksgiving and other holidays, I applaud you! Especially since the American Council on Exercise reports that the average American consumes 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat in a typical Thanksgiving Day meal. So being mindful and tracking what you eat is a great way to keep your calories at a more sensible level and avoid holiday weight gain.

Pumpkin is a rich source of vitamin A and fiber.
Pumpkin is a rich source of vitamin A and fiber. Photo Credit LIVESTRONG.COM

Though it’s true that pumpkin is a healthy food choice (pumpkins and canned pumpkin are loaded with vitamin A and fiber, and they are fairly low in calories on their own), the items that are often combined with pumpkin in seasonal recipes (graham cracker crusts! Whipped cream! Sugar!) are precisely the types of foods I aim to avoid putting into my mouth.

If my relationship with pumpkin pie were described in Facebook terms, this Thanksgiving I would probably need to update our relationship status to the ever-popular “It’s complicated.” The reason? I fought hard to lose 20 pounds (see my “Before” and “After” photos), and I don’t want to gain the weight all back by attaching pumpkin pies to my thighs!

Like the aforementioned pumpkin pie that I once ate for breakfast, seasonal pumpkin-flavored foods are also not quite as low in calories as the pumpkin itself. Just look into the the calories and sugars contained in the popular pumpkin flavored items popping up on menus and in stores everywhere.

From Trader Joe’s Greek Nonfat Pumpkin Yogurt (190 calories, 29 grams of carbs and 23 grams of sugar) to Pumpkin Pie Gelato (220 calories and 20 grams of sugar), to the sugar-laden Starbucks Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte (310 calories and 50 g rams of sugar!), we’re all just one pumpkin latte a day away from gaining 4 to 5 pounds in the 40 days left of 2015.

In the interest of indulging in some pumpkin desserts this Thanksgiving without transforming my body into the shape of a pumpkin, I’ve created four pumpkin recipes that are 175 calories or less and cut down on the sugar. One recipe adds protein (for those of you who are always aiming to add more protein to your diets) and another recipe removes the dairy entirely, because vegans (and their friends) should be able to enjoy pumpkin desserts unadulterated by dairy products or gelatin!

These four pumpkin treats have no crust because who needs crust, really, when you have pumpkin?! A bite of crust is a bite of wasted calories because I’d really rather have another bite of pumpkin goodness.

Who needs crust when you have pumpkin pie pudding?
Who needs crust when you have pumpkin pie pudding? Photo Credit Christopher Strimbu

1. PUMPKIN PIE PUDDING

This is a healthier pumpkin dessert with 171 calories, 2 grams of fat, 13 grams of sugar, 21 grams of carbs and 3 grams of protein. It’s lower in sugar than your average pumpkin pie. And it’s just as delicious. The sweetness of the pumpkin won’t disappoint.

View the recipe in LIVESTRONG.COM'S Calorie Tracker

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 6 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Serving Size: Approximately 6 ounces

Ingredients
2 cups milk
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions
1. Whisk milk, sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan; bring to a boil.
2. Boil three minutes, whisking constantly.
3. Beat eggs with a whisk in a large bowl.
4. Gradually add half the hot milk mixture to the beaten eggs. Return milk-egg mixture to pan.
5. Cook over medium heat three minutes, or until thick, whisking constantly.
6. Remove from heat; stir in pumpkin, salt, and pumpkin-pie spice.
7. Spoon evenly into six (6-ounce) custard cups. Let cool, and chill for about 30 minutes, or until pudding is set.

Triple your protein intake during your dessert course with this protein pumpkin pie.
Triple your protein intake during your dessert course with this protein pumpkin pie. Photo Credit LIVESTRONG.COM

2. PROTEIN PUMPKIN PIE

If you’re looking to triple your protein intake in your dessert course, choose this version. It's a high-protein, low sugar, low fat version of pumpkin pie. One serving has 161 calories, 2 grams of fat, 23 grams of carbs, 10 grams of protein and 17 grams of sugar. It’s not overly sweet, doesn’t have a crust and should definitely not be confused with a sinful, high-calorie slice of regular pumpkin pie.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 70 minutes
Serves: 6
Yield: 1 8×8 pan

Ingredients
15 ounces organic pumpkin pumpkin
4 tablespoons light agave nectar
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
8 ounces organic silken lite extra firm tofu
1/2 cup egg whites
1 jumbo egg
1 teaspoon coconut oil
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves

Directions**

** 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F, and grease 8-by-8 Pyrex pan with coconut oil.
2. Mix all ingredients together in blender until smooth.
3. Pour into pan and spread evenly.
4. Cook at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn down oven to 350 degrees and cook for another 55 minutes.
5. Allow to cool completely before serving.

Vegans love this dairy-free pumpkin custard.
Vegans love this dairy-free pumpkin custard. Photo Credit LIVESTRONG.COM

3. VEGAN PUMPKIN CUSTARD

It’s only fair that vegans (and their friends) should be able to enjoy pumpkin desserts unadulterated by dairy products or gelatin. One serving contains 146 calories, 7 grams of fat, 18 grams of carbs, 2 grams of protein and 13 grams of sugar. (If you want to remove two grams of fat, don’t add the walnuts on top.)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Serves: 8
S**erving Size:** Approximately 6 ounces

Ingredients
3 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/4 cup light agave syrup
8 large half walnuts
2 1/2 tablespoons organic dark brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons agar agar flakes (agar is found in the Asian foods section of the grocery store, near other sea vegetables such as wakame)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger (ground)
1/4 teaspoon cloves
Dash of salt

Directions
1. Whisk all ingredients (except walnuts) together in a medium-sized pan and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Divide mixture between eight (6-ounce) custard cups.
4. Place walnuts on top
5. Cool in refrigerator at least two hours before serving.

Create your own Greek yogurt with a pumpkin flair.
Create your own Greek yogurt with a pumpkin flair. Photo Credit LIVESTRONG.COM

4. SPICY, LOW-SUGAR PUMPKIN GREEK YOGURT

Since there are 23 grams of sugar in Trader Joe’s pumpkin yogurt, I figured I might be able to “create” my own version that is more spicy and that tastes better and is lower in sugar. And I succeeded! This version is delicious, and has only 147 calories, 3 grams of fat (0 grams of fat if you choose to remove the walnuts on top), 24 grams of carbs, 6 grams of protein and 16 grams of sugar.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 1
Serving Size: Approximately 6 ounces

Ingredients
1 6-ounce container plain nonfat Greek yogurt (I chose The Greek Gods yogurt)
1 tablespoon pumpkin butter
1 teaspoon chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves

Directions
1. Mix the pumpkin butter in with your yogurt.
2. Sprinkle walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves on top.
3. Enjoy!

If you love pumpkin as much as I do, be sure to check out these other recipes:

Gluten-Free 2-Minute Paleo Pumpkin Microwave Muffins
125-Calorie Healthy Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

What Do YOU Think?

Do you love pumpkin spiced treats too? Have you tried any of these recipes? How did they turn out? Do you have other favorite pumpkin recipes? Leave a comment below and let us know.

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