Written by: Anielly Rocha – Intern for the Dietitians of Palm Valley
The sweet autumnal fragrance that greets us as pumpkin pie chills on the counter, with the cinnamon colored filling delicately wrinkled all the way to a golden halo crust. How do we stop ourselves from grabbing a knife and digging in? In minutes it would be an ex-pumpkin pie…Unless, we have other (healthier) pumpkin delights to fulfill our senses as we wait to share…
First things first, why should we eat Pumpkin?
Pumpkin seeds pack about 1.7 grams of dietary fiber per ounce. Pumpkins themselves have only 50 calories per cup and 3 grams of fiber. Fiber is great because it keeps your heart healthy, makes you stay fuller longer, and helps with regularity.
- Vitamin A
A cup of pumpkin contains almost twice the amount of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A! It is most popular for promoting good vision, however its also essential for maintaining healthy skin, neurological function, and more!
Pumpkins are rich in potassium (even more than bananas) making them a great post workout snack to help balance your electrolytes after a heavy sweat session.
Now that we know the amazing health benefits, here’s 5 ways to use Pumpkin this Fall to prevent you from ruining the pie too early!
1. Pumpkin Energy Bites
Prep Time: 5 mins Total Time: 5 mins Yield: 20
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups dry, uncooked oatmeal
- 1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter or other nut or sun butter
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup quality honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips
- In a medium bowl, add 1 and 1/2 cups oats, peanut butter, pumpkin, chia seeds, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir to combine well. You want the mixture to be soft but not too sticky. If you pick up a generous spoonful, you should be able to roll it into a ball and only make a minimal mess, it should stick together when rolled but still feel tacky on your hands.
2 . Post-workout Pumpkin Smoothie
Yield: Serves 1 larger smoothie, Prep Time: 5 min
- 1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree
- 1 large banana
- 6-8 ice cubes
- 6 oz vanilla Greek yogurt or Siggies yogurt
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp agave nectar/honey, if you want it sweeter
- 3 Tbsp almond milk
- Pinch of cinnamon on top, optional garnish
- If desired, add a scoop of vanilla protein powder before blending.
- In a blender combine pumpkin, banana, ice, yogurt, spice, agave nectar and milk. Pulse until smooth!
- Pour into a glass and top with a pinch of cinnamon. Happy Fall!
3. Spicy Pumpkin Soup
Yield: Serves 8, Prep: 10 min, Cook: 30min
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 TBS curry powder
- 1 Tsp ground cumin
- 1 Tsp ground cardamom
- 1 Tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 Tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
- 1/8 Tsp ground nutmeg
- salt and black pepper (to taste)
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
- 20 ounces pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
- 2 Tsp brown sugar
- 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds, garnish optional
- 2 TBS of plain greek yogurt, garnish optional
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, garnish optional
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook for about 10 minutes until tender. Add the garlic, curry powder, cumin, cardamom, coriander, cayenne pepper, nutmeg and a dash of salt and black pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Transfer the mixture to a large pot.
- Add the vegetable stock, coconut milk, pumpkin puree and brown sugar. Stir and boil on medium heat for 20 minutes.
- Once the soup has cooked, transfer it to the pitcher of your blender (or you may use an immersion blender) and blend until smooth. Be careful as you transfer hot liquid to a blender. Cover it with a kitchen towel and hold the top with your hand as your blend.
- Keep the soup warm in a slow cooker until you are ready to serve. Serve the soup with roasted pumpkin seeds, a dollop of plain greek yogurt and fresh cilantro. Enjoy!
(Adapted from: http://www.cookingandbeer.com/2015/09/slow-cooker-spicy-and-creamy-pumpkin-soup/)
4. Pumpkin overnight oats
Yield: Serves 1, Prep: 5 minutes
- 1/2 cup vanilla unsweetened soy milk
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- Combine all of the ingredients in a jar and mix until fully combined. Place in the refrigerator overnight. Perfect fall breakfast!
5. Pumpkin Hummus
Yield: Serves 8, 1/2 cup per serving Prep: 10 minutes
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or high-speed blender. Process or blend until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl or pitcher.
- Drizzle 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over the top and serve with raw veggies, chips and/or crackers. Great as a topping for salads and wraps this fall season.
(Adapted from: https://www.kimscravings.com/pumpkin-hummus/)
Happy Fall Y’all! Want more tips and tricks on living a healthy lifestyle? Click here to contact us today and learn more helpful tips to stay healthy this holiday season!