Don’t get me wrong, I love sipping on a delicious pumpkin spice latte on a crisp fall morning. But what is all the hype with one of the trendiest foods that comes back with vengeance year after year?
Pumpkin, a member of the winter squash family, is packed with vitamin A—over 200% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA)—in just one cup of cooked pumpkin. Serving as a good source of fiber, this versatile fruit is also loaded with vitamins and minerals (vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, potassium, copper, and magnesium to name a few).
While there are many varieties of pumpkins to choose from, the most common are jack-o-lanterns and pie pumpkins. Jack-o-lanterns, while typically used for carving and as decorations, can still offer some nutritional benefits in the form of pumpkin seeds, or pepitas. The next time you’re hollowing out your carefully selected jack-o-lantern, save the seeds to roast in the oven!
Pie pumpkins, also known as sugar pumpkins for their sweeter taste, are great for making pumpkin purée (you can use the same roasting method with the seeds for another flavorful snack).
So how should you make the most of this nutritional powerhouse?
- Try adding a spoonful of pumpkin purée to your oatmeal or yogurt in the morning.
- For a frozen treat, freeze pureed pumpkin in an ice cube tray and add these to your next smoothie. This—in combination with a sprinkle of pumpkin spice seasoning—will have you feeling festive in no time!
- In the mood to bake? Substitute pumpkin purée for oil in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio.
- Dusting off the crockpot? Add a can of pumpkin purée to your favorite chili recipe or check out some of these pumpkin-inspired slow cooker recipes:
Still thinking about that pumpkin spiced latte? Try crafting your own with this recipe! https://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/268335/pumpkin-spice-latte/
No matter how you decide to incorporate pumpkin into your fall festivities, you’re not only getting to enjoy a tasty treat, but also amping up the nutritional benefits. So pumpkin on!