IT’S PUMPKIN SEASON!
It’s that time of year again! Every store you walk into has pumpkin something: pumpkin coffee, pumpkin coffee creamer, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup, pumpkin salad, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin beer, pumpkin cidar, etc… this list could go on and on! There are a lot of unhealthy food options out there but there are some healthy ones too. You can still get into the fall pumpkin spirit with:
- Pumpkin seeds– As a snack, on top of a salad, in a bowl of oatmeal or cup of yogurt. I had cinnamon pumpkin seeds that were delicious!
- Pumpkin flavored coffee– try to avoid the pumpkin coffee creamers and fancy beverages- they are loaded with calories- enjoy a cup of black pumpkin flavored coffee without all of the fat and sugar. If you are going to indulge in a sinful coffee drink, ask for a small, ask for a small amount of pumpkin sweetener, do not add extra sugar and cream, and ask for unsweetened almond milk or skim milk.
- Homemade pumpkin soup-make your own soup using fresh pumpkin. Be careful when ordering it out because they often use a lot of heavy creamer. Make sure it is healthy by choosing your own recipe.
- Healthy pumpkin pie dip– there are recipes that are greek yogurt based and taste delicious dipped in apples!
- Pumpkin smoothie: Try adding 100% pure pumpkin to a smoothie for a holiday treat.
DID YOU KNOW THAT PUMPKING HAS MANY HEALTH BENEFITS?
PUMPKINS CAN HELP:
- FEEL FULLER– pumpkin sees pack around 1.7 grams of dietary fiber per ounce, while 1 cup of mashed pumpkin provides 3 grams of dietary fiber and only 50 calories. This fiber will help you feel fuller longer which helps keep your appetite at bay.
- KEEP YOUR EYES SHARP- The National Institutes of Health state that a cup of cubed pumpkin contains almost 2 times the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A, which promotes good vision, especially in dim light.
- HEART HEALTH- pumpkin seed oil is loaded with phytoestrogens which helps prevent high blood pressure. A recent study by Swedish researchers found that women whole at a diet high in fiber had a 25% lower risk of heart disease compared to women who consumed a low fiber diet.
- SLEEP BETTER- pumpkin seeds are rich in the amino acid tryptophan which is contributes to post Thanksgiving sleepiness. Tryptophan helps the body make serotonin, the fee-good neurotransmitter that helps you relax.
- BOOSTS MOOD: the serotonin also helps boost your mood!
- DECREASE CANCER RISK- they are rich in antioxidant beta-carotene, which may play a role in cancer prevention, according to the National Cancer Institute.
- PROTECT THE SKIN- Rich in carotenoids, they can also help the skin stay wrinkle freeJ.
- BOOST IMMUNE SYSTEM- They are a solid source of vitamin C- one cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 11 mg of vitamin C (nearly 20% of the 60 mg the IOM recommends women need daily. Men should aim for 75 mg daily).
Joanne Gibson RDN, LDN, CLT, CPT
Nutrition & Wellness
That was my salad for lunch today…with pumpkin seeds on top! I also baked a gluten-free pumpkin bread last evening.. yum!