Coach Mindy here!
Fall is in full swing and it is definitely pumpkin season. And great news, pumpkins are crazy good for you. They are very versatile and easy to add into your diet. They are also 0 bites on most plans. Let's look into why you should add pumpkin into your daily regimen.
The most important thing about pumpkin is that it is a very healthy fruit. It has a ton of health benefits. It is loaded with vitamins and minerals like potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A. It is also high in antioxidants to help protect your cells against radical damage and oxidation. It contributes to eye health, helps protects your skin from damage from harmful UV rays, lowers your risk of cancer, helps lower bad cholesterol, you will sleep better, improves heart health, and boosts immunity. And, it has also been shown to promote weight loss. It is high in fiber, which helps stabilize your appetite thus helping you to eat less. It is also nutrient dense and very low in calories which is why it is a 0 Bite food on most plans. And, it is super easy to add to your diet.
There are many ways you can add pumpkin into your diet. And the great thing is that you can get canned pumpkin puree year round. If you choose to use canned pumpkin, please make sure you are getting the puree and not the pumpkin pie filling which is loaded with sugar and extra calories. Also be aware that not all canned pumpkin puree is a 100% pumpkin, Some brands include squashes into the puree as well which is not entirely a bad thing because squash is good for you as well. If you are wanting purely pumpkin, be sure to read the label and the ingredients to make sure that the brand you are buying is only pumpkin.
Another way to ensure that you're getting a 100% pumpkin is to puree a pumpkin yourself. It is super easy and only requires 2 ingredients: a small baking pumpkin and a little bit of salt. You just preheat your oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You then wash your small pumpkin and cut it in half then scooping out the inside. Sprinkle the flesh with a little bit of salt and lay your pumpkin flesh down on the baking sheet and roast for about 50 to 60 minutes or until the flesh is soft and easily pierced with a knife. Then you would just scoop out the pumpkin, put it in a blender or a food processor, and puree until smooth. Viol, pumpkin puree. This will keep for one week in the refrigerator in an airtight container or you can freeze it up to 3 months.
Now that you have your pumpkin, it can easily be added into various different recipes and dishes. The easiest would be just adding some pumpkin to taste into soups, casseroles, yogurt, oatmeal, dips, cottage cheese, or smoothies. Let's not forget the seeds. Pumpkin seeds are a healthy and delicious snack as well. Adding pumpkin into your diet is easy and the possibilities are endless. Here are some quick and simple recipes using pureed pumpkin.
Pumpkin Spice Smoothie:
In a blender add 1 cup of almond milk, 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder, 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to taste, and a couple of ice cubes. Blend to desired consistency. You can also vary this recipe by adding other fruits, and seasonings. Avocados add healthy fat and makes your smoothie extra creamy.
In a blender or food processor add 1 cup of pumpkin puree, 15 oz of garbanzo beans, 2 tbs tahini, 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth.
Bonus: Not only is pumpkin good for your body, it's also good for your skin and hair.
Pumpkin Face Mask:
Mix 2 tbs pumpkin, 1/2 tsp honey, 1 tsp milk and apply to cleansed face. Leave on for 20 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water.
Pumpkin Hair Mask:
1/4 cup pumpkin puree, 2 tbs cold pressed coconut oil, 2 tbs honey. Mix well and apply to hair. Cover with a shower cap or plastic bag. Leave on for 30 minutes then wash as usual. Optional- You can run a hair dryer over your covered hair to heat the oil and help it penetrate the hair shaft.
Pumpkin is a super delicious and healthy addition to your plate. It is fun to incorporate seasonal foods and get creative with different dishes. Best part is you can enjoy pumpkins year round.