Nothing screams fall like the smell and sight of pumpkin. Pumpkin dip, pumpkin latte, pumpkin flavored coffee, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin enchiladas, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cheese cake, pumpkin flavored M&M’s…when will the pumpkin madness stop!
The one, not so frightening thing about pumpkin is that it is healthy! In fact, 1 cup of cooked pumpkin and 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin are only 50 calories. Pumpkin is also high in antioxidants, which helps prevent cell damage, and beta-carotene. Beta-carotene comes from the dark yellow-orange color of pumpkin and is good for our eyes, skin, and disease such as heart disease and high blood pressure. If that is not enough of a reason to eat pumpkin wait, there is more! You can actually eat the pumpkin seeds!!!
Pumpkin seeds are 157 calories per 1 ounce serving. They are high in good fat (mono-unsaturated fatty acids) that help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol and increase good (HDL) cholesterol. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of protein with 8 grams of protein per ounce. And of course, who can forget about all those wonderful vitamins and minerals that are needed in the diet. Well, pumpkin provides several of those including:
- Vitamin E: antioxidant that prevents tissue cells from being damaged
- B vitamins that help with metabolism
- Minerals: Manganese, Copper, Potassium, Calcium
So when carving out pumpkins this October try to save the pumpkin “guts” for your favorite pumpkin foods. Don’t forget the seeds and once they are dry and baked they taste great:
- As part of a healthy trail mix
- Used in granola
- Used to make cookies
- Salad topper
- Salad dressings
- Side dishes
Now take all these pumpkin ideas and start cooking while enjoying the craft of pumpkin carving!
Happy Pumpkin Days!