Pumpkin Spice and All Things Nice

Pumpkin spice and all things nice create the taste and smell of fall. Yum-yum! When post people think pumpkin, delicious treats of pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread and pumpkin tart comes to mind.  While it is fine to indulge in those a few times over the holiday season, indulging every day is not a good plan; at least not for your waistline! However, there are lots of tasty ways to include pumpkin into your holiday season without all the added sugar and calories.

Pumpkin is actually a very 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 is only 40 calories a serving!  This fall, get creative with including pumpkin into your diet!  Here are 5 tasty ways to get you going:

  1. Pumpkin Smoothies: Blending pumpkin into a smoothie with milk, protein powder and your favorite spices can be a great breakfast or post-workout meal. This time of year many brands make pumpkin yogurt too, which can add a protein kick to your smoothie!
  2. Pumpkin Oatmeal: 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.
  3. 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 baking sheet, toss with 1 teaspoon 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 the whole week!
  4. Pumpkin Pancakes: 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!
  5. 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.