Everything Is Coming Up Pumpkin

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

As soon as summer turns to fall, what do you see? Pumpkins painted with smiling faces dotting store windows and a slew of pumpkin products you’ve never seen before — everything from pumpkin chips and pumpkin butter to pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin waffles. Even pumpkin body creams and other beauty products get into the mix. And, of course, there’s the pumpkin spice latte.

Pumpkin’s popularity definitely spikes during the fall season, but this year we think it may be time to look past our lattes and see pumpkin for what it really is: a delicious superfood that’s good for much more than coffee and carving.

Orange You Glad It’s Healthy?

While the aforementioned pumpkin goodies may not actually be good for you, pumpkins themselves are loaded with potential health benefits! Here are just a few ways this great gourd may give you a boost from the inside out!

Pumpkin boasts potassium, copper, magnesium, manganese, iron and zinc.

Carotenoids: Ever wonder what gives pumpkins their bold orange color? We have the antioxidants alphacarotene, beta carotene and other carotenoids to thank for that — and for helping us reverse UV damage. Foods rich in carotenoids, like pumpkin, may help improve our skin texture too!

Vitamins A, B and C: It still pays to know your ABCs! Vitamin A helps us maintain healthy skin and bones and fight infections. Pumpkin is a good source of most of the B vitamins too, including niacin, riboflavin, B6 and folate. Niacin helps treat acne and improve circulation; folate also helps improve circulation. Vitamin C helps protect our skin from free radical damage, including wrinkles and even skin cancer.

Minerals: Pumpkin boasts potassium, copper, magnesium, manganese, iron and zinc, among other minerals. Potassium and zinc especially help promote healthy hair and skin, respectively. Pumpkin seeds, high in zinc, also make a great snack, especially when roasted. Check out these seven easy ways to spice up your pumpkin seeds!

Muffins That Top Our List

While you’re ordering up your latest coffee, you may also be tempted by the pumpkin muffins placed conveniently by the cash register. Yes, pumpkin may be healthy, but we promise you that these pumpkin-inspired baked goods are loaded with extras and can have more than 500 calories, 20 grams of fat and 40 grams of sugar in just one muffin. Now that’s scary! But don’t fear; we have a way to indulge in pumpkin without sabotaging your healthy lifestyle efforts! Our recipe for Healthier Pumpkin Muffins is easy and has just a fraction of the calories, fat and sugar per serving.

Check it out, and don’t forget to share a pic with #TakingOnHealthy.


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 eggs (we used an egg replacement)
  • 1 cup milk of choice (we used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or any mild-flavored oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners or lightly grease with cooking spray.
  2. Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and sea salt in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
  3. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla extract until evenly combined. Fold the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients and stir until the mixture is just combined. Pro tip: Avoid overmixing.
  4. Portion the ingredients into prepared baking cups and sprinkle a pinch of turbinado sugar (if using) on top of each muffin.
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.
  6. Serve warm or let the muffins cool to room temperature and then store in a sealed container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition information per serving:

Serving size: 1 muffin

Makes: 12

Calories:158
Carbs:25 g
Protein:4 g
Fat:5 g
Fiber:3 g
Sugar:8 g
Sodium:317 mg

There you have it! We hope this inspired you to add the mighty pumpkin into even more of your fall routine.

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