5 Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin This Fall
Pumpkin spice and all things nice create the taste and smell of fall. Yum-yum! When most people think pumpkin, delicious treats of pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread and pumpkin tart comes to mind. And who can resist a pumpkin spice latte?! The dilemma is that it has over 400 calories! And while it is fine to indulge in those a few times over the holiday season, indulging every day is likely not a good plan; at least not for your waistline! However, there are lots of delicious ways to include pumpkin into your holiday season without all the added sugar and calories.
Pumpkin is actually a very low-calorie, nutrient-rich food! Just one serving contains more than 200% of your dietary needs of Vitamin A, one-third of your daily need for vitamin C and one-fourth your daily needs of fiber! To top it off, it contains only 40 calories a serving! So, this fall get creative with including pumpkin into your diet! Here are a few ways to get you going:
Blending pumpkin into a smoothie with milk, yogurt (or protein powder) and your favorite spices like cinnamon and nutmeg can be a great breakfast or post-workout meal. It’s full of nutrients and fall flavors, not to mention packed with protein to help you stay full longer!
Make your morning full of pumpkin spice! To start, mix oats with milk or water and cook in the microwave like normal. Add in 1/8-1/4 cup pumpkin puree, a pinch of pumpkin spice seasoning and a pinch of cinnamon, pop in the microwave a few more seconds and you are ready to go in minutes! Feel free to add nuts, peanut butter, coconut flakes, seeds or dried fruit to your liking.
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Tease the seeds out of the pumpkin innards with your fingers and rinse them in a colander. Boil the seeds in a pot of well-salted water 10 minutes; drain, spread on a baking sheet, toss with one teaspoon of olive oil and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until the seeds are toasty brown. Grab a snack baggie, add some whole grain granola and nuts and you have a nutrient-rich snack for you and the family for the whole week!
Oat flour-pumpkin pancakes are a great way to add nutrients and fiber to your morning. Pumpkin’s moist texture combined with your favorite spices make for a delicious, cozy morning. Plus, you can top with plain or vanilla yogurt and crushed nuts to make a complete breakfast! Or consider lathering them with peanut or almond butter for some added protein and healthy fat!
Pumpkin Spice Bars or Energy Bites
Using pumpkin as a base for energy bites or bars will give you that fall feel to your mid-day snack. They are great for your kids’ lunchboxes, your purse or as a sweet treat after dinner. Here is an easy, tasty recipe:
- 1 cup Medjool Dates, chopped
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1 5.3oz container siggi’s pumpkin & spice skyr
- 2 Tbs. chia seeds
- 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until well combined. The mixture should be coarse, but moist throughout.
- Once combined, form mixture into one-ounce balls.
- Chill in refrigerator for at least one hour and enjoy!
Nutrition Facts per serving (One serving: 2 bites – Recipe makes 8 servings)
Calories: 180, Fat: 11 gm, Carbohydrate: 19 gm, Protein: 4 gm
-Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD