Saturday, October 5, 2013

the skinny pumpkin

Heyy Ber!
 OMG have I really not posted since Wednesday?!
As you know I tried my first Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks recently and,
even though I dont like coffee, I loved this drink!
So I thought I'd talk a little about the ups and downs of pumpkin foods this season!

Pumpkins are loaded with some healthy shit!
Pumpkins, like all our favorite fruits and veggies, are high in fiber but low in calories.
Like their orange buddies the carrot and the sweet potato, pumpkins are rich in carotenoids.
Carotenoids have been involved in many studies in which they are linked to reducing the risk of certain cancers, like lung and colon cancer.
Pumpkins are also loaded with vitamin-A, potassium, and iron.

Whats super cool is that you dont need to go out and buy a whole pumpkin to get these benefits.
Canned pumpkin actually has just about as many carotenoids and nutrients that fresh pumpkin has- and its ridiculously convenient- just make sure to get it without salt.
Be aware though, some canned pumpkin is actually squash- and thats ok!
They share many of the same attributes and nutrients.
Also look out for canned "Pumpkin-Pie mix", which can actually have many more calories and not as many health benefits.

Now for the bad news.
During this time of the year we see an EXPLOSION of pumpkin flavored delights. Everything from coffee to cookies to pies. Unfortunately, these pumpkin wonders are rarely sporting any real pumpkin, so you're not reaping any of the health benefits we covered earlier.

So how much pumpkin is really in your pumpkin flavored snacks?
Its hard to be sure!

The lower down on the ingredients list something is, the less of it there is in your food, so its hard to be sure exactly how much pumpkin, if any, is included.

But wait- enough of the bad news, lets go back to the good:
You can make healthy pumpkin flavored alternatives at home!
I, for one, CANNOT WAIT to try this healthy homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe:

1cup almond milk (he used Vanilla)
1/4 canned pumpkin puree
1 tsp- 1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp honey or agave nectar
1 tsp nutmeg or pumpkin spice
Add to coffee, refrigerate leftovers for another day!

Also, for days when I want some pumpkin spice but no coffee,
I'll whip up this Pumpkin Spice smoothie, found at Healthful Pursuit.
(Click the photo for recipe link)

I hope that gets you excited for more fall pumpkin flavors.
And what pumpkin treats are you excited about? Could you make healthy versions of those at home?

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