October isn’t my favorite month, but October brings pumpkins and that means pumpkin pie and pumpkin pie is definitely a favorite of mine!
This fruit is more than just a big round gourd to carve into a jack-o-lantern for Halloween and pumpkin goes beyond filling a piecrust for your Thanksgiving table. It can be a gourmet filling for ravioli or the base of a hearty fall soup. It’s great in risotto and homemade pumpkin bread, too. Its flesh and its seeds are filled with nutrients and health benefits and can be eaten in a variety of ways.
Here are a few benefits of pumpkin:
· 1 cup of cooked pumpkin gives you 200% of the recommended intake of Vitamin A. It’s full of carotenoids, which aid your vision.
· There are 3 grams of fiber in a 1 cup serving which helps fill you up and keep your digestion balanced.
· Contains beta carotene, an anti-oxidant which helps to prevent cancer
· Gives you vitamin C, which aids collagen production and keeps wrinkles at bay.
· 1 cup of cooked pumpkin contains more potassium than a banana. This helps balance your body’s electrolytes, especially after a heavy workout.
· Pumpkin seeds – aka pepitas- are a great source of magnesium(good for your heart), and zinc (helps your immune system).
As much as pumpkin pie is a favorite of mine, Clean eating is still a priority so I have found a healthy, delicious way to get my pumpkin fix (and I don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving dinner to be over!). It’s a pumpkin smoothie (recipe below). This smoothie is a great for breakfast or an afternoon snack – the taste of pumpkin pie without all the unhealthy ingredients found in a pie.
Pumpkin Smoothie (makes 1 serving)
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 ½ cups milk alternative (I use almond milk)
1 serving protein powder
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
3-4 ice cubes
Blend until well combined.
There has been a lot of press lately regarding the non-existent pumpkin in Starbuck’s Pumpkin Lattes and so of all the seasonal pumpkin items you can enjoy, keep this one off your list!