Health Benefits of Pumpkin & Pumpkin Recipes!

Health Benefits of Pumpkin & Pumpkin Recipes!

 

Pumpkin Time!

Fall is my favorite season for cooking and baking. <—(Dozens of healthy pumpkin recipes!). There is so much amazing produce (and flavors) that come to life. Some spectacular choices include apples, persimmons, Brussels sprouts, carrots, all winter squashes, and that’s just to name a few. However, what I am most excited about this time of year is Pumpkin.  People say to me, “Moni, what do you make with pumpkin other than Pumpkin Pie?” See, I am the lady in line who will buy six cans of pumpkin every grocery visit! Before you think I’m nuts, listen up and I’ll tell you why.  I want to share why I love pumpkins so much and how to find ways to cook with it this season. I hope to give you some great ideas, too.

One of the best secrets is how much fat and calories you can cut out of meal by swapping in pumpkin instead of extra butter, oil, and sugar. Pumpkin is so versatile, delicious and actually is packed with nutrients and vitamin, that is, if you don’t mix it with all that sugar and butter (wink-wink!). You can use it to make sweet treats, as well as very savory dishes. We all love pumpkin pie but come with me for a moment and think outside the box. Maybe you have heard of Pumpkin Pancakes, Pumpkin Brownies (my fav too!), Pumpkin Muffins and Pumpkin Bread. But what about savory pumpkin dishes like Pumpkin Soup and Pumpkin Ravioli or what about Pumpkin Lasagna? We even have Pumpkin Beer and Pumpkin Lattes all over the place and so easily available. Plus, you do not need to roast a pumpkin to cook with it. Canned works just well but just know the flavor can’t be beat if you do decide to roast one.

The best part about pumpkin is it’s so great for you.

Check this out–in 1 cup of pumpkin there are 3 grams of fiber, which is very important if you’re watching your weight. With all that flavor, you’d think it would be higher in calories, but not at all! Only 48 calories in a cup! Pumpkin contains beta-carotene which is amazing for you and has been proven to help fight skin wrinkles. We always hear about how much Potassium is in a banana but check this out: Pumpkin has more potassium with 564 milligrams compared to a banana at 442. You could refuel after your hard workouts with pumpkin instead of banana to switch things up! Your sore muscles will love you! Pumpkin is also a great source of Vitamin C.  With all of that amazing nutritional value and it tasting so good, how could you not want to by six cans every grocery visit, right? Remember, it only comes out and is available once a year so stock up!

Now, let’s not forget about pumpkin seeds. Who doesn’t love roasted fresh-from-the-oven pumpkin seeds? It’s one of my favorite things to do in the Fall. Pumpkin seeds are seriously fantastic for you, as long as you aren’t cooking them with tons of butter or oil.  They also contain fiber and you can toss them in any dish to jazz it up. Try to add them for extra crunch on a salad, or put out a bowl for the kids to munch on.

I cook many recipes using pumpkin but today I want to share with you two of my ultimate favorites that I’ve made over the years. Get ready to try my “Whole-Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes” and my very popular “Protein Packed Pumpkin Bars.” Both are ridiculously easy and loved by many.  Kid friendly and figure friendly, too. What is not to love about both? With using pumpkin there is no need for added oils or butter or sugar.

Soooo easy & delicious!

Soooo easy & delicious!

WHOLE-WHEAT PUMPKIN PANCAKES

Servings

Serves 1-2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup multi-grain (or whole-wheat) pancake mix
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal, not instant
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin
  • 1 tbs coconut oil, secret ingredient! It makes the texture amazing plus so good for you! (or canola could be used if you do not have coconut)
  • 3 eggs or 4-5 whites, I usually use 3 whole eggs but whites would work
  • 1/4-1/3 cup vanilla almond milk, this depends how thick you like them (or milk of choice)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Spice
  • 1-2 packets of Stevia, depends on how sweet you like it– (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1 tbs mini chocolate chips for topping, optional

Serve with pure maple syrup (or honey), a few dashes of cinnamon, and don’t forget the fresh fruit. Enjoy!

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl. Mix together WELL; the pancake mix, oats, salt, cinnamon, Stevia, and Pumpkin Spice.
  2. Now add in the eggs (or whites), 1 tbs coconut oil, applesauce, pumpkin, and vanilla. See how thick you want to make these by the almond milk. Start with using 1/4 cup and work your way up to finding the right texture. (I make these pretty thin myself for that crepe like texture.)
  3. Heat a pan over low-medium heat. Coat with additional coconut oil or cooking spray. Cook each side for about 2-3 mins until lightly golden.
  4. Place on a plate and serve with the 1 tbs of mini chocolate chips (if using), maple syrup (or honey), a few dashes of cinnamon, and fresh fruit. Enjoy!
Protein Packed. Loved by thousands!

Protein Packed. Loved by thousands!

MONI’S VERY POPULAR PROTEIN PUMPKIN BARS

Servings

1 Loaf/ 16-20 Squares (depends on the size of cut) Or Muffins

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup Pumpkin
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbs of Stevia, or sweetner of choice
  • 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder, I use Sun Warrior
  • 1/2 tsp of Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp of Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup pecans or walnuts-divided, optional
  • Whipped Topping, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In one bowl, mix the egg whites, pumpkin, vanilla extract, and maple syrup.
  3. In another small bowl whisk the Stevia, oat bran, protein powder, and all the spices along with the baking powder.
  4. Now add this to the wet ingredients and stir well. I add now 2 tbs of the nuts (if using) until well incorporated.
  5. Pour mixture into a baking loaf pan (or can use a muffin tin) coated with cooking spray. I add the last 2 tbs of nuts (if using) for the topping.
  6. Bake about 20 min or until a tooth comes out clean. Enjoy!

I would love to hear from you,are you a big pumpkin fan? What are your favorite ways to use it?

Follow Moni to connect on Face Book, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram (-to get a look of my everyday eats!)

EAT WELL. STAY FIT. FEEL GREAT.

See you on your next workout,

Moni

xx

Love Monica Nelson

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Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I am not a Registered Dietitian. While my advice relies on my own personal experience and research, what has been successful for myself and others may be not best for you. You should always consult your doctor when making changes to your diet. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me at monica@monicanelsonfitness.com.

One Comment to “Health Benefits of Pumpkin & Pumpkin Recipes!”

  1. My husband loves everything pumpkin. These recipes will make him so happy. Pancakes this weekend for sure. Thanks.

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