3 Healthy Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin This Fall
Including how to make your own pumpkin spice latte
‘Tis the season for falling leaves, sweaters and of course, pumpkin everything.
That could be good news for your health, including your eyes, since pumpkin is rich in vitamin A and helps promote good night vision, according to the National Institutes of Health. Pumpkin's beta-carotene helps your skin stay healthy and fights inflammation, according to Piedmont Healthcare. And pumpkin — without all the extra calories, sugar and fat we add when we make pumpkin bread and pie — is low in calories and high in fiber.
Related: 10 Foods to Eat for Eye Health
So how can you get your pumpkin fix without ruining its health benefits? Try one of these equally tasty ways to enjoy a pumpkin this season.
Roast the seeds. After digging out the insides of your jack-o'-lantern, separate the seeds from the pumpkin meat. Rinse the seeds well, then shake the colander to dry. Toss them with a bit of olive oil and, if desired, salt, pepper, cumin cinnamon, or any spice you like. Spread them in one layer on a baking sheet. One recipe calls for baking them at 350 degrees until toasted, about 10 to 12 minutes. Roasted pumpkin seeds are truly versatile — you can eat them out of hand, but also toss them on salads to lend a nice crunch, add them to cereals to add a bit of extra taste and nutrition and use them as toppings.
Make a protein shake. Bananas aren't the only fruit that's good after a workout. Pumpkins are high in potassium too, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. For a pumpkin protein shake, load your blender with your favorite protein powder, almond milk, fresh (or canned) pumpkin and ice for a revitalizing drink after the gym.
Pumpkin veggie soup. Nothing says fall like a warm bowl of soup. Go ahead and dust off your big soup pot and add onions, garlic, low-sodium soup stock, pumpkin puree and your favorite dried herbs for a healthy yet easy pumpkin soup. This pumpkin, leek and white bean soup is a good option as well as this spicy southwest pumpkin soup. They both take under 30 minutes to make.
Make your own pumpkin spice latte
Skip the pumpkin latte at the coffee shop — it probably contains zero pumpkin, anyway — and indulge in your own coffee creation. This homemade latte includes actual pumpkin and a surprising ingredient for a good kick — black pepper. (via The Kitchn)
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more to garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole (soy or almond) milk
1 to 2 shots espresso, about 1/4 cup
In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the pumpkin with the pumpkin pie spice and a generous helping of black pepper for 2 minutes or until it's hot and smells cooked. Stir constantly. Add the sugar and stir until the mixture looks like a bubbly thick syrup.
Whisk in the milk and vanilla extract. Warm gently over medium heat, watching carefully to make sure it doesn't boil over. Carefully process the milk mixture with a hand blender until frothy and blended. Divide the espresso between two mugs and add the frothed milk. Add a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, or nutmeg if desired.