Pumpkin: A Nutrition Powerhouse

It’s that time of year! Pumpkin season is here and we are all heading to the patch to find the best ones. Although pumpkins are most popular for carving and decorating, they should also get attention for being very nutritious. Both the seeds and the flesh are packed with nutrition.

Read on to find out why pumpkins are so nutritious, and enjoy these recipes using pumpkin that your family will love:

Pumpkin Seeds:  In a nutshell (no pun intended), they are a great source of omega 3s. These are the super healthy fats that reduce inflammation and are highly concentrated in brain tissues. Omega 3s are essential fatty acids, which means our body does not make this type of fat, so we have to get it from our diet. Eat up those pumpkin seeds, and reduce your risk for chronic disease while boosting your brain!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe:  Save the pumpkin seeds from carving for a healthy snack. Rinse them in a colander to remove all of the flesh, then boil them in salted water for about 10 minutes. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees on a cookie sheet with olive oil for 5-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Pumpkin Flesh: This is the deep orange-colored puree that resembles cooked butternut squash, and can be bought canned and ready to eat. Pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A (the orange color is the giveaway there), which is important for healthy eyesight, immune function, and is an antioxidant. It is also a good source of potassium and very low in calories.

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Smoothie Recipe:

  • 1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt (plain has less sugar)
  • 4 “cubes” of pumpkin, frozen in ice cube trays
  • 1 small-medium size banana
  • 1 teaspoon honey (may omit if using vanilla yogurt)
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Handful of baby spinach

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Don’t worry, the spinach won’t affect the taste of the smoothie but will boost the nutrition! If you don’t tell them, they won’t know it’s there.

Makes approximately 2 servings.

What is your favorite way to cook with pumpkin?