Fall is the perfect season to get your fill of pumpkin. Not only is it readily available in the market, pumpkin everything seems to crowd restaurant menus. Unfortunately, many of the pumpkin products offered are desserts or sugar-filled drinks. Pumpkin itself is a very healthy vegetable, full of vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber. In addition, it’s very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, so it is great to incorporate into your diet when it’s prepared healthfully! This fall, take advantage of pumpkin’s health benefits with these healthy ways to eat pumpkin:
Tip #1: When carving pumpkins, don’t throw away the seeds! Rinse the seeds and then top them with your favorite seasoning and roast. These crunchy little seeds are not only delicious but also packed with protein and zinc. Try using a bit of garlic powder and Italian seasoning for a savory flavor or cinnamon and nutmeg for a sweet flavor. At restaurants, look for pumpkin seeds added to salads for flavor and crunch.
Tip #2: Add pumpkin into soups, stews, pastas, rice and curry dishes, just as you would butternut squash. Along with added flavor, pumpkin can add a creamier, fuller texture to dishes like these. Look for a variety of these pumpkin-infused menu choices at restaurants throughout the fall.
Tip #3: If you are looking for a sweet pumpkin treat, there are many healthy pumpkin recipes and menu choices available that are lower in calories, fat, and sodium. Enjoy in moderation to stay on track towards your health goals.
How do you enjoy pumpkin this time of year? What are some healthy ways to eat pumpkin that you’ve found?
When dining out load up your plate with a variety of fruits and vegetables such as pumpkin to meet MyPlate guidelines.