Fall is in the air! And with fall comes the endless variety of pumpkin-infused foods – such as pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin granola the options are endless. This versatile fall squash is loaded with nutrients and can be a great addition to your diet.
Beta carotene, the pro-vitamin that gives pumpkin its bright orange colour, beta carotene is converted into Vitamin A in the body. Both nutrients are beneficial to health, as Vitamin A has been shown to boost immunity while beta carotene promotes eye health and has been linked to preventing heart disease. Whether your source of pumpkin is fresh or canned, one cup of pumpkin provides seven grams of fibre, three grams of protein and contains only 80 calories and one gram of fat.
There are plenty of great ways to add pumpkin into any meal – Whether it’s with pumpkin seeds or its starchy flesh, pumpkin can boost nutrients and flavour to your favourite dishes. Here are 5 simple ways to include more pumpkin in your meals.
1. Oatmeal – For a creamy, warm and hearty breakfast, add 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree to your morning oats. Sprinkle with cinnamon and chopped walnuts and you have a more nutritious version of pumpkin pie!
2. Baked goods – Swapping in pumpkin puree for butter or eggs serves as a moist, low-fat substitute. You can use about 1/4 cup of pumpkin per egg in baked goods. Pumpkin and squash puree can work as a direct one to one ratio substitute for oil. For butter, substitute about three-quarters of a cup pumpkin for each cup of butter.
3. Smoothies – Pureed pumpkin added to smoothies is filling and nutritious.
Along with pumpkin add some fruit and spices for a great quick and easy breakfast on the go. If you are looking for some inspiration try this pumpkin smoothie recipe.
4. Soups – Including cubes of roasted or pureed pumpkin to soups makes for a hearty, creamy base. If you have leftover pumpkin puree, freeze it in ice cube trays and add to soups and sauces for a nutritional boost. Try this flavourful pumpkin soup to warm you up this Fall.
5. Seeds – Roasted pumpkin seeds make for a delicious satisfying snack or salad topper and adds a nutritional boost – the seeds are loaded with protein, zinc and fibre. If you plan on saving the seeds after carving your Halloween pumpkin make sure you separate the seeds from the pulp and rinse and dry them before roasting. Season them with some sea salt, pepper or with any dry spice of your choice!