We take a break in our regular snack food programming to help bring some balance to your diet this holiday season: Healthy Ways To Use Pumpkin!
It’s tough to get through the fall season without being inundated with autumn’s favorite squash: the pumpkin! The fall food season seems to be all about pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin cheesecake, and pumpkin cookies.
While these are delicious treats, they aren’t always so great for your waistline. Here you will find some healthy ways to still enjoy pumpkin, but without all the added calories, fat and sugar.
If you’ve changed your mind and want to indulge in some decadent pumpkin desserts instead, be sure to check out our 15 Best Pumpkin Dessert Recipes To Try This Fall. You’ll find everything from breakfast sweets like pumpkin muffins, cinnamon rolls, donuts, and scones to goodies like pumpkin cookies, brownies, cheesecake, cereal treats, magic bars, fudge, and ice cream!
Health Benefits Of Pumpkin
In addition to how delicious it tastes and how versatile it is, there are also some great benefits to choosing pumpkin as an ingredient for your fall recipes.
Here are some top benefits:
One nice thing about pumpkin is that it can be a really neutral ingredient to add to your meals, but can be spiced up to work in sweet as well as savory dishes. Canned or cooked pumpkin goes a long way in desserts, soups, and so many different foods and drinks. You can add it to smoothies or use canned pumpkin in your cake mixes.
Low In Calories
Did you know one cup of pumpkin is only 30 calories! This means you can eat quite a bit of this veggie and all its immense flavor with a low amount of calories.
High Nutrient Content
Pumpkin is loaded with nutrients. In addition to the lower calories, enjoying pumpkin this fall can also increase the nutrients you are consuming. Some of the nutrients vary based on whether you are eating the “meat” inside the pumpkin, or the actual pumpkin seeds. Here are some nutrients you will get:
Potassium – To start with, your pumpkin meat will contain potassium, which is great for helping to lower your blood pressure and boost your overall heart health.
Beta carotene – Beta carotene is found in fruits and vegetables that are an orange color, and that includes pumpkin.
Vitamin C – If you need more vitamin C, but aren’t a fan of citrus fruits, you can get a good amount of it in your pumpkin meat. This is not only a beneficial vitamin on its own, but it can help you to absorb iron.
Zinc, omega 3s, magnesium, and tryptophan – These are just some of the healthy nutrients you will get from pumpkin seeds.
Healthier Pumpkin Recipe Ideas
Now that you know all about the health benefits of pumpkin, you may want to check out some healthier recipes to use it in. Here are some quick ideas:
18 Healthier Pumpkin Sweets, Treats and Dessert Recipes
This Pumpkin Pie Smoothie is an effortless lip-smacking way to power you through the first half of the day. It is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, high in protein, and rich in fiber. This smoothie recipe is just all-around good for your body and soul.
Bananas Pumpkin puree Vanilla Greek yogurt Whole milk Maple syrup Pumpkin pie spice Crushed ice Whipped cream Cinnamon
Learn how to make healthy pumpkin waffles with lots of cozy spices! Fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside! Easy to make & only 100 calories!
White whole wheat flour or gluten-free flour Pumpkin spice Baking soda Baking powder Salt Unsalted butter or coconut oil Egg whites Vanilla extract Pure maple syrup Pumpkin purée Plain nonfat Greek yogurt White vinegar Nonfat milk Water
This Weight Watchers Crustless Pumpkin Pie is quick and easy to make and totally satisfying - you won't even miss the crust. Not only is it low WW points (only 2 WW points on blue per serving!), it's low-carb and gluten-free and has no artificial sweeteners/sugar substitutes!
Pumpkin puree Eggs Maple extract Pumpkin pie spice Cinnamon Brown sugar Evaporated milk- fat free
This Vegan Pumpkin Cookie Recipe is light and oil-free but full of amazing pumpkin spice flavors. You just need 1 bowl and 30 minutes to whip up this healthy fall dessert. Top them with a Cashew Maple Glaze for a truly delicious treat.
For The Cookies Whole wheat flour Pumpkin spice mix Cinnamon Baking powder Baking soda Ground flaxseed Salt Can of pumpkin Maple syrup Almond butter Vanilla extract
For The Icing Unsalted cashews Maple syrup Unsweetened plant milk of choice Cinnamon
An easy recipe for Pumpkin Apple Muffins that are incredibly moist, fragrant, and made with simple (yet healthy) ingredients like pumpkin puree, fresh apple chunks, oats, dried cranberries, pumpkin pie spice & cinnamon. Bake a batch in less than 30 minutes to make your home smell super cozy.
Flour Old fashioned oats OR rolled oats Baking soda Baking powder Sea salt Pumpkin pie spice Ground cinnamon Ground nutmeg Pumpkin puree Cooking oil or unsweetened applesauce Sweetener (like coconut sugar, real maple syrup, or brown sugar) Eggs Apple Dried sweetened cranberries
These Chocolate Chip Vegan Pumpkin Blondies are the perfect fall snack that appeals to kids and adults alike. Full of satiating fiber and protein, these healthy pumpkin bars are so easy they can be mixed in a blender.
Oats Nut butter Chickpeas Maple syrup Vanilla Baking powder Baking soda Salt Pumpkin puree Pumpkin pie spice
These one-bowl Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites require less than 10 ingredients and just minutes to prep. These tasty no-bake pumpkin balls are also vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, nut-free and oil-free!
Pumpkin puree Coconut sugar Unsweetened applesauce Pure vanilla extract Whole-grain, gluten-free oat flour Pumpkin pie spice Ground cinnamon Kosher salt Vegan, refined sugar-free chocolate chips
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread Pudding, with an easy dairy-free option, is healthy-yet-indulgent comfort food. Bread pudding makes a great dessert, but it also makes a great breakfast, brunch item, snack or lunch box addition.
Canned pumpkin Cream cheese Coconut Bread Liquid sweetener of choice (maple syrup, raw honey, low carb sweetener) Butter, ghee or coconut oil Heavy cream or coconut cream Eggs Real vanilla extract Cinnamon Ginger Cloves Allspice Nutmeg
Paleo Pumpkin Swirl Brownies made with almond flour are a healthier fall treat! Dairy-free, refined sugar-free, rich, warmly-spiced, ultra chocolatey with all the fall flavors nestled into one delectable dessert bar.
Sunflower seed butter Eggs Coconut oil Pumpkin puree Super fine almond flour Coconut sugar or sugar-free sweetener Unsweetened cocoa powder Pumpkin pie spice Sea salt Chocolate chips