Healthy ways to enjoy pumpkin all year round

By • Published: October 27th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Kids carve them up every fall. Cooks whip their puree into a timeless holiday treat. But, we bet you don’t know the true nutritional value of the pumpkin, an autumn staple in American homes.

These squash are great for you because they’re packed with potassium and vitamin A. Potassium keeps your organs running smoothly and helps prevent a host of diseases, while vitamin A supports good eyesight and strong immunity. Pumpkin also is low in calories, and the seeds are great sources of magnesium and fiber.

But pumpkin pie is decidedly not the best way to get a good dose of pumpkin… a normal sized-slice of the holiday classic contains 323 calories… not exactly health conscious. Try these lighter ways to tuck into a tasty helping. And, they’re a great way to sneak a little squash into your children’s diet. We bet even the pickiest kids will like these ideas.

Next time you’re baking for the family or a dinner party with friends, remember: Using pumpkin puree in a recipe allows you to trim the portions of oil or butter you use, while still maintaining moisture.

Or, if crunchy processed snacks full of preservatives are your downfall, consider baking pumpkin seeds as an alternative. They’re easy to make at home and certainly cheaper than all those manufactured, fat-filled products.

There is also a slew of savory recipes featuring pumpkin, from pumpkin apple soup to pumpkin ravioli.

Give these ideas a try, and we bet you just might find yourself stocking up on cans of pumpkin puree when they hit the shelves each fall. After all, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy this tasty ingredient all year long. Just make sure you aren’t buying the pumpkin pie filling… it’s already sweetened, and not as healthy as the plain stuff.