Now that Halloween has come and gone, what will you do with your pumpkins?
Since pumpkins are most commonly used for Fall decor and carving, we often forget just how much nutritional value they have to offer. Before taking your pumpkins out to the compost this week, why not get creative in the kitchen with them instead?
Pumpkins are a complex carbohydrate packed with fiber, which provides your body with slow releasing energy (read: great pre-workout snack). The fibre in pumpkins also feeds your friendly gut bacteria to help keep your digestive system running smoothly. Pumpkins are high in beta carotene, a form of Vitamin A that gives it a deep orange color. Beta carotene is an antioxidant vitamin that helps protect the health of your cells and keeps your vision sharp. Beta carotene is also known to improve the overall appearance of your skin, giving it a signature glow (but don’t worry- you won’t glow orange!). Forget pumpkin spice lattes- here are five delicious and nutritious ways to get the most out of your pumpkins this fall.
1. Pumpkin Soup
When you steam and blend fork-tender pumpkin with your favorite herbs, spices, onions, garlic, and ginger, you’ll feel as though you never want fall to end. Pumpkin combines especially well with curry spice and makes a thick, satiating soup. Our favorite combination is steamed pumpkins, sauteed garlic and onions, madras curry spice, black pepper, organic chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you’re vegetarian) and steamed sweet potato. Simply scoop out the seeds from your pumpkin, then carve out the inside of your pumpkin to chop into cubes and steam. Once your pumpkin is tender, combine it with all of your other ingredients in a Vitamix, blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and enjoy. You may also want to roast your pumpkin seeds to snack on or top your soup with for an extra boost of magnesium.
2. Pumpkin Muffins
Pumpkin makes an ideal muffin because of its fibrous and versatile texture. You can mix pumpkin with aluminum-free baking powder, baking soda, a few eggs and any whole grain flour of your choice (our favorite is organic spelt flour or quinoa flour). To sweeten the mixture, you may want to add a natural sweetener such as Manuka Honey Gold or Organic Traditions Stevia Powder.
Pumpkin muffins make a great breakfast or pre-workout snack on the go because of the slow releasing energy they provide. You can store your pumpkin muffins in the freezer to give them a longer shelf life, although it’s not likely they’ll last long enough to freeze!
3. Pumpkin Protein Smoothie
Pumpkins are also high in potassium, an electrolyte needed for proper nerve function. Potassium is depleted by stress and is lost through sweat during exercise. Due to its carbohydrate content, pumpkin can also be used to efficiently replenish glycogen stores after you’ve crushed a workout.
For the perfect pumpkin protein smoothie, blend:
1/4 cup of pumpkin
- 1 scoop of Progressive Organic Whey Protein (either plain or vanilla)
2 tbsp hemp hearts
- 1 cup nut unsweetened vanilla nut milk of your choice
- ½ of a frozen banana
- 1 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice (optional)
Drink immediately and enjoy!
4. Overnight Pumpkin Oats in a Jar
Perhaps the best thing about overnight oats is how creative you can get by customizing your flavors and toppings. For a fall infused spin on overnight oats in a jar, why not add pumpkin, cinnamon, walnuts, and some pumpkin pie spice? You may also want to top your oats with full fat organic greek yogurt, almond milk and a touch of manuka honey. This is an OIAJ combo you’ll want to enjoy for many fall seasons to come!
5. Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Spice up your pancakes by adding a few tablespoons of pumpkin to your pancake batter. Just like overnight oats in a jar, you can customize your pancake batter to make the ultimate fall pumpkin. Add pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon or nutmeg to the mixture and top your pumpkins with hemp hearts, walnuts, Greek yogurt or organic grass-fed butter.