As the summer season fades and we enter the realm of leggings, boots and cozy sweaters, a wonderful tradition follows: all-things-pumpkin. From pumpkin spiced lattes to pumpkin pie there is no escaping the season’s favorite tradition. How do you indulge in the pumpkin while remaining fit and staying healthy?
Let’s first take a look at the nutritional value of pumpkin in its natural state.
Pumpkin is one of the lowest calorie vegetables and is packed with antioxidants such as Vitamin-A, Vitamin-E, and Vitamin-C, which are all crucial to staying healthy over the cold and flu season.
Pumpkin has high water content; in fact, 90 percent of its weight comes from water. This makes pumpkin a great addition to the diet as it aids in hydration.
Pumpkin has high fiber content. In one cup of canned pumpkin there are seven grams of fiber. Pumpkin seeds are also packed with fiber and in one serving provide five grams.
These are only some of the many benefits to Pumpkin in its natural state. To read more on the nutritional value of Pumpkins follow these links:
The danger with pumpkin comes when additives, sugar, and other junk is added to the pumpkin to make treats like your pumpkin spiced latte.
This brings me back to my original question: how do you indulge in pumpkin without packing in the calories? A few tips can be found on USA Triathlon’s website:
- Make a pumpkin recovery smoothie: add canned pumpkin, some Greek yogurt, a splash of milk, and a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin spice. Voilà!
- If a smoothie sounds too cold for the frosty day, try pumpkin soup. Pureed pumpkin, coconut milk or cream, vegetable or chicken stock and spices (salt + pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice)
- Mixing canned pumpkin in your Greek yogurt will give you the taste of fall as well as a healthy snack.
- Lastly, if you save your seeds after pumpkin carving, they can be roasted and enjoyed on top of yogurt, tossed in a salad, or eaten plain as a snack.