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The Health Benefits of Pumpkin

 

 

Fall has officially arrived again! What a beautiful and abundant time of year. This season yields a variety of crops.  If you’re just as basic as we are, you totally love everything pumpkin! And who wouldn’t? But…. have you ever thought of enjoying and savoring in the health benefits of pumpkin? Edible pumpkins are a type of winter squash that are packed full of amazing nutrients that do the body good!

Like all other orange-colored vegetables, pumpkins are rich in beta-carotene, the plant source of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is an antioxidant. Antioxidants help the body ward off various diseases by absorbing free radicals. Free radicals can easily do harm to the body when in excess. Eating an antioxidant rich diet is a great way to help protect the body against diseases and cancers.

In addition, pumpkins may help to reduce blood pressure, as they are rich in potassium. Potassium is a vital nutrient in maintaining blood pressure levels. When cooking with canned pumpkin, be mindful of the sodium content. Too much sodium across all items in the diet can have a negative effect on blood pressure levels. Aim to choose canned items with the lowest sodium content.

Pumpkins are an efficient source of fiber. Fiber is most famous for reducing constipation and keeping things ‘moving’ throughout the bowels. In addition, eating a high-fiber diet aids in satiety to help create a feeling of fullness, keeping you feeling fuller longer. This can prevent overeating, and potentially excessive weight gain! One cup of pumpkin puree contains close to seven grams of fiber!

Lastly, don’t trash the pumpkin seeds! Pumpkin seeds are packed with protein.  One ounce contains nearly the same amount of protein as 1 cup of soy or cow’s milk.  Seeds can be enjoyed alone, in trail mixes, or as a topping on just about anything.

To reap all the benefits of pumpkin this season, try our recipes below!


Pumpkin Overnight Oats

Prep Time Cook Time Serving Size OPN Conversion
10 minutes let sit overnight  makes 2 serving 1 starch + 1/2 dairy

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup raw rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup milk of choice
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ mashed banana
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

Instructions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together
  2. Add mixture to a jar with lid.
  3. Refrigerate overnight.
  4. Wake up, and enjoy

 

Pumpkin Hummus

Prep Time Cook Time Serving Size OPN Conversion
15 minutes 0 minutes 1 Tbsp 1 condiment

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans, approx. 2 cups/16oz
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 Tbsp tahini
  • Shake of kosher salt
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic

Instructions:

  1. Rinse beans thoroughly
  2. Place all ingredients in food processor
  3. Blend until smooth
  4. Measure and enjoy!

Pumpkin Chili

Prep Time Cook Time Serving Size OPN Conversion
30 minutes 6-8 hours 1 1/2 cups 1/2 protein + 2 starch + 1 fat

Sweet Potato ChiliIngredients:

  • 1 can pumpkin, approx. 2 cups/16oz
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can + 1 cup raw beans of any kind (black, kidney, cannellini, an/or lentils) 
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes, 16oz - no salt)
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey or chicken. (approximately 2 breasts if cubed meat is desired)
  • 4-6 cups of low sodium broth of choice
  • Spices: chili powder, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and cumin. Use 1-2 teaspoons of each desired spice.
  • Optional: include onions, peppers, and carrots to add bulk and check off a few veggie servings-yum!

Instructions:

  1. Saute meat in a large skillet over medium heat with olive oil
  2. If using veggies, add to the meat after 3-4 minutes of cooking
  3. Add spices to meat, remove from heat
  4. Add pumpkin, tomatoes, beans, broth, water, and spices to slow cooker and stir
  5. Once meat begins to brown, added to slow cooker
  6. Place on low setting for 6-8 hours
  7. Measure into serving bowl, add your favorite toppings, and enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins 

Prep Time Cook Time Serving Size OPN Conversion
10 minutes 20 minutes 1 muffin 1 starch + 2 fat

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup almond or oat milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 - 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with parchment paper or liners. 
  3. In a blender or food processor, blend oats until they become a flour-like consistency. Add other dry ingredients and blend to combine.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Fold dry ingredients into wet, mixing to combine then fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Portion into baking cups and bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Interested in adding even more pumpkin to your life? Click here for more delicious pumpkin recipes!

Britney Kennedy
Britney Kennedy
Britney is the founder of OnPoint Nutrition

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