If any one food comes to mind when fall begins, pumpkin is probably it. This is when it is all about pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin cheesecake, and pumpkin cookies. While these are delicious treats, it is better to aim for balance with your health. Here you will find some healthy ways to still enjoy pumpkin, but without all the added sugar.
Benefits of Pumpkin in the Fall
In addition to how delicious it tastes and how versatile pumpkin is, there are also some great benefits to choosing this vegetable in the fall. Here are some top benefits:
It adds flavor to any food – Canned or cooked pumpkin goes a long way in desserts, soups, and so many different foods and drinks. You can add it to smoothies or use canned pumpkin in your cake mixes.
Pumpkin is lower in calories – One cup of pumpkin is only 30 calories! This means you can have a good amount of this veggie and all its immense flavor with a low amount of calories.
Helps get your veggies in – Have trouble eating your veggies? Add some pumpkin to the mix and it will be much easier!
It is loaded with nutrients – You will find out more about the nutrients below, but pumpkin is loaded with vitamins and minerals, from potassium and antioxidants to vitamin C and fiber.
They last a long time – Before you cut into a pumpkin, it can last up to 2 months in a cool, dark environment.
Nutrients You Get from Pumpkin
As you might guess, pumpkin has a lot of amazing vitamins and minerals! In addition to the lower calories and just the great taste of pumpkin, enjoying it in the fall can increase the nutrients you are consuming. Some of the nutrients also vary based on whether you are eating the meat inside the pumpkin, or the actual pumpkin seeds. Here are some nutrients you will get:
Potassium – To start with, your pumpkin meat will contain potassium, which is great for helping to lower your blood pressure and boost your heart health.
Beta carotene – Beta carotene is found in fruits and vegetables that are an orange color, and that includes pumpkin.
Vitamin C – If you need more vitamin C, but aren’t a fan of citrus fruits, you can get a good amount of it in your pumpkin meat. This is not only a beneficial vitamin on its own, but it can help you to absorb iron.
Nutrients in Seeds – As for the pumpkin seeds, you will get vitamins like zinc, omega 3s, magnesium, and tryptophan.
Healthier Pumpkin Ideas
Looking for some healthier ways to enjoy your pumpkin? Here are some quick ideas:
Pumpkin smoothies – You can also add canned pumpkin or fresh pumpkin meat to your smoothie. It will add that pumpkin flavor and lots of vitamins and minerals without the extra calories. It goes great with pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, and Greek yogurt.
Pumpkin Soup – You can make a pumpkin soup with cooked and roasted pumpkin, along with vegetable stock and spices.
Healthier pumpkin spice latte – If you want a pumpkin spice latte without the added sugar, use your pumpkin and spices, then use a dairy-free option like oat milk or almond milk, and add a lower sugar option for sweetening it, such as Stevia or monk fruit.
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