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Health Tuesdays: Pumpkins

PumpkinsSince we’re well into October that can only mean one thing.. . It’s pumpkin season. Pumpkin lattes, Pumpkin beers, Pumpkin everything. So how do you enjoy pumpkin season while keeping an eye on your health? Let’s start with the general health benefits of pumpkins.

Pumpkins are packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Potassium.

  • One cup of cooked mashed pumpkin is over 200% of your recommended daily Vitamin A intake. Vitamin A can play a role in your vision, immunity and growth.
  • The Vitamin C within a pumpkin is attributed to offer some protection against various forms of cancer.
  • Also pumpkins are loaded with potassium, which can help restore electrolyte balance after exercising or a hard day’s work.

PumpkinsBefore you dig into that pumpkin pie, consider this. Pumpkin puree is great for you, but the problems come from ingredients that were mixed into the puree and the ingredients of the crust. By altering just a few things in a regular pumpkin pie recipe you can turn an unhealthy slice to a tasty bit of pro health.

  • First switch out the sweet condensed milk for either Vanilla Soy Milk (Your vegan friends will be really happy about this!) or Almond Milk with Honey.
  • Either make your own pumpkin puree or use 100% pure canned pumpkin.
  • Lastly, the biggest culprit of adding unnecessary saturated fats is the crust. Make your own crust with gram crackers or whole wheat flour and switch out the butter for canola oil or a very light olive oil. (Note that when changing butter proportions to oil, you tend to need a lot less oil than you would have butter.)

PumpkinsSure you can pick up your pumpkin latte in the Starbucks drive through, but remember these lattes are packed with sugar and range from 300-500 calories! The sugar from a Tall is your total recommended DAILY dose of sugar.

  • If you don’t want to give up the drink try switching to soy or non-fat milk which will help with calories and your consumption of saturated fat.
  • If you have a bit of time try making your own, check out this recipe from eattingbirdfood.com

So there you have it, a few ways to get through pumpkin season while indulging in all those sinful treats. Just remember if you eat too much pumpkin that your skin can indeed change to the color of a pumpkin (read here).

Images Via Mkooiman at en.wikipedia, JoshMadison, Preppybyday

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