Powerhouse Pumpkin…Pick One Today!
With autumn in full swing, it’s hard to miss the endless pumpkins on doorsteps, lined up at farm stands or decorated in schools. They are a quintessential part of Halloween and Thanksgiving, and a delicious way to coax kids into eating their vegetables. The carving of a jack-o-lantern can yield a powerhouse of nutrition if you know how to use it.
Pumpkin is a fabulous source of many nutrients including Vitamins A and C, potassium, zinc, and fiber. The best part? A cup of cooked pumpkin is only 50 calories. There are so many ways to incorporate it into your favorite standard recipes as well as your holiday celebrations. For everyday pumpkin goodness, simply add a heaping tablespoon of canned pumpkin to your morning oatmeal and stir in a few dashes of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. You can also add a few tablespoons to plain Greek yogurt mixed with cinnamon, fruit and low fat granola or whole grain cereal. Pumpkin smoothies are a yummy treat too, especially when blended with Greek yogurt, fruit and OJ for a little extra sweetness.
Add some beautiful color to your holiday menus! Roast fresh pumpkin along with other fall vegetables and puree with broth and spices to make a yummy soup. Incorporate pumpkin into your baked goods to make tasty treats with extra nutrition. Bake some Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins as a Halloween treat or fall holiday dessert. Fool everyone with Fudgy Secret Pumpkin Brownies made only from boxed brownie mix and a 15oz can of pumpkin. Simply mix together the two ingredients and follow directions on the box, you may need to add a few minutes to the cooking time. Make sure to wrap the brownies in aluminum foil while warm, in a few hours they will be soft and fudgy.
Don’t forget about the pumpkin seeds! They are a good source of protein, zinc, iron, copper, and vitamin K, and a very good source of manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. Sprinkle them on salads and in cereal or yogurt. Bake them into breads and muffins or simply enjoy them solo.
So, grab the kids, go pumpkin picking, and have a blast carving, scooping, cooking and baking. Experiment and try something new, you may discover a new family favorite full of fun and good nutrition.