Would you consider a pumpkin to be a fruit or a veggie?!?!
It is actually considered to be a fruit because it has seeds, but it is quite a unique fruit. It is not naturally sweet and is more nutritionally dense like a veggie.
Pumpkins are packed with vitamins and minerals that may support the immune system and have been proved to support cardiovascular health.
Perhaps pumpkins most beneficial nutrient is the high fiber content that helps to support proper elimination and gut health. It contains a moderate amount protein as well, making it a good vegan protein source.
But the star of the show when it comes to pumpkin nutrition is actually the pumpkin seeds!
These little guys pack a punch! They are loaded with important minerals:
These super important minerals play a key role in our health offering everything from hormone balancing support to anti-cancer properties. They also support male prostate health, blood pressure & cardio health, and even red blood cell formation to keep you from becoming anemic.
Pumpkin seeds are totally Keto, offering a great amount of healthy fats, a moderate amount of protein and are very low in carbohydrates.
Incorporating pumpkin and pumpkin seeds in your diet:
You can find pumpkin in everything this time of year, but I want to encourage you to watch out for the sugar content in many of these products, it will creep up on you! There are many ways to incorporate pumpkin into your diet health-fully!
Here are a few tips:
- Use fresh pumpkin to make puree…its easier than you would think!
- Buy a small pumpkin, preheat oven to 400F, cut in half, coat with coconut oil, bake face down for 45min, let cool and scoop in a food processor and pulse for 2-3 minutes. Add salt if desired.
- You can make in advance, store in the freezer in a stainless steel or thick glass container
- If you’re buying canned pumpkin puree, make sure it’s organic
- Take the puree and add it to vanilla protein powder to make pumpkin smoothies or check out my yummy Pumpkin Protein Balls! (recipe below)
Eat pumpkin seeds! Enjoy them many different ways:
- Eat them by the handful alone
- Sprinkled in salads
- Add to smoothies
- Incorporate in recipes, especially yummy with yams or sweet potatoes or toped on butternut squash soup
You can find them baked or dried. My favorite choice is sprouted and dried w sea salt, this allows for you to gain the maximum nutrient benefit!
The Pumpkin Spice Latte:
So, you can eat pumpkin, but we all know you can drink it as well!!!
Who doesn’t love a Pumpkin Spice Latte?
But did you know that a grande PSL from Starbucks contains almost 40g of sugar...that is equal to over 3 tbsp of sugar!
As an alternative, make it at home to save money and empty calories! I call them empty calories because you are not gaining any nutritional value from drinking a PSL, but rater just adding sugar and calories to your daily intake that can lead to increased glucose and insulin, inflammation and weight gain.
There are fantastic pumpkin flavored dairy alternative creamers that not only taste great but will add additional nutrients to your diet!
Here's a super simple and delicious no bake pumpkin recipe I created! I easily incorporated pumpkin puree into the recipe to bind everything together and give it an amazing natural fall pumpkin flavor!! I used my Vanilla Pea Protein to keep you satisfied until your next meal!
No Bake Pumpkin Protein Bites
- 1.5 to 2 cups dry, uncooked GF oatmeal
- 1/2 cup all-natural almond butter or sun butter
- 5 cup organic unsweetened pumpkin puree
- 2 scoops Vanilla Pea Protein Powder
- 1/4 cup whole chia seeds
- 1/4 cup Lakanto maple flavored monk fruit
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 cup Lily's chocolate chips
- In a large bowl, combine and stir all ingredients together until the mixture comes together.
- Form into tsp sized balls and store in a glass or stainless-steel container in the refrigerator.
This recipe keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week.