Pumpkin lovers around the world are rejoicing. The return of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte brought an extra shot of energy this year, as the mega business celebrates the 10th anniversary of the seasonal treat.
Now that pumpkin flavors are dominating the grocery shelves and the local restaurants and coffee shops, you may be tempted to just try every fall-flavored treat you see. I know the temptation is strong for me — the excuses to indulge in high-fat, high-calorie treats are endless: “But this pumpkin ice cream is only available for a few weeks!” and “I won’t get the chance to taste pumpkin pancakes for a whole year!”
Embracing the pumpkin craze doesn’t have to be a guilt-laden experience. Many of the popular pumpkin treats are high in sugars and fats, but there are a wealth of healthy pumpkin options. Take advantage of the autumn flavors without guilt.
Here are some health benefits of fall’s favorite fruit and a few recipes to enjoy at home.
Pumpkin and Nutrition
The use of pumpkin in diet is not a new practice. This plant has been used for many centuries. Overtime, people have continued to accept and appreciate the benefits that come with consuming pumpkin. Research has shown that pumpkin is very effective in weight loss due to its fat free nature. The plant contains chemical compounds that are quite effective in burning body fat, reducing cravings, and also improving metabolism. Pumpkin is also rich in minerals.
Benefits of Pumpkin Flavored Foods and Drinks
There are many advantages that come with consuming pumpkin as part of a healthy diet. The benefits will vary with the amount consumed and also the method of preparation. The key to making pumpkin a part of a healthy diet is choosing your recipes carefully.
Better Eyesight: beta carotene, and alpha carotene contained in pumpkins improves eyesight
Improved Metabolism: pumpkins contain a lot of fiber which improves digestion and metabolism
Improved Immune System: pumpkins contain magnesium and potassium which are needed in building the body’s immunity
Reduced Cravings: the high fiber content helps you reduce cravings
How to Prepare Healthy Pumpkin Flavored Foods and Drinks
There are countless pumpkin recipes online. Below are two recipes — one for your morning latte craving and the other for a cozy dinner.
1) Pumpkin Latte
4 tablespoons ground coffee
1 tablespoon pumpkin spice (no sugar added, just the spice mix)
2-1/2 cups water
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk OR…
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Combine the coffee and the pumpkin spice and brew as usual with the specified amount of water.
Pour the maple syrup in the bottom of your cup and pour half of the hot coffee over that.
Add 1 cup of milk and stir.
Repeat steps 2-3 for the second serving.
2) Pumpkin Leek Soup
1 can of pumpkin
2 medium potatoes
1 peeled and chopped apple
2 chopped medium leeks
3 chopped celery with leaves
4 cups water
4 cups chicken broth
4 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup cream
1 cup butter
2 tablespoons of chopped dill
Coarsely chop the vegetables and mix with 1 cup of broth in a food processor. Transfer the mixture to a pot; add spices and the remaining broth. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. Blend using an emulsion blender. Return to pot and add butter and cream and let it simmer. Garnish with fresh dill and sour cream.
Jump on the Pumpkin Bandwagon!
Look out for more healthy pumpkin recipes. The rich color, taste, and aroma found in pumpkins make a meal more appealing. Do you have a favorite pumpkin treat? Let us know in the comments!