Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin candles, pumpkin beer, and even pumpkin flavored toothpaste!? (Yes, it’s a thing.) Without a doubt, the seasonal pumpkin craze has gone far beyond simply grandma’s homemade pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. I too have “fall”en for the pumpkin fad. I have already bought myself pumpkin flavored oreos, peanut butter and k-cups…and it’s not even Halloween yet!
Aside from the popularity, this member of the squash family has many nutritional benefits. It’s high in fiber which gives you the feeling of being full and satisfied, as well as rich in vitamin A to help boost your immune system for the flu season.
Keep in mind when purchasing canned pumpkin at the grocery store, they are not all created equal. The key is to purchase 100% pure pumpkin, which is different from pumpkin pie filling. The pie filling is loaded with added sugar and preservatives, while the pure pumpkin is simply the pureed flesh. The two cans are usually on the shelf next to each other, and look very similar (see picture below). A cup of pure pumpkin has about 83 calories and 8 grams of sugar, whereas a cup of pumpkin pie filling has 281 calories and over 50 grams of sugar. By choosing 100% pumpkin, you can control the sugar and additives to make your pumpkin dish a more healthful option. Since this is the Spice Girls Nutrition blog I also recommend adding extra cinnamon and nutmeg for bonus flavor. 🙂
And don’t forget the seeds! Though they may be small, pumpkin seeds are packed with nutrients that aid in heart health, digestion, immune support, and more. A half a cup of pumpkin seeds is about 8 grams of protein, making it a great snack to curve hunger.
Pumpkin is a very versatile food which can be added to anything from smoothies, to oatmeal and even chili. Plus, all the nutritional benefits makes it a great super food for fall (and the rest of the seasons). So go ahead and #pumpkinspiceeverything… just don’t brush your teeth with it!