Happy Pumpkin Season
Although it may not feel like fall yet, it’s October, which means it’s officially pumpkin season! Pumpkin is a great source for vitamins A and C, as well as fiber and potassium. Pumpkin also contains antioxidants like alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. If you are not a fan of the taste of pumpkin, consider pumpkin seeds, which are high in protein and essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Be careful not to be tricked this Halloween by festive pumpkin treats that are often made with pumpkin flavoring instead of the real deal. Most often, these foods are hiding a load of added sugar.
Potential health benefits of pumpkin include:
- Strengthens immune system
- Protects eyesight
- Promotes weight loss
- Supports digestive health
- Curbs appetite
- Supports heart health
- Promotes healthy skin
- Reduces risk of chronic disease
Check out the following recipes to add pumpkin into your diet this season!
Pumpkin Spice Latte
2 cups strongly brewed coffee or espresso
¾ cup almond milk
¾ cup full-fat coconut milk
⅓ cup pure maple syrup
3 Tbsp pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Simmer for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally, until heated through and slightly frothy on top.
- Carefully transfer the liquid to a blender and cover the top with a towel.
- Blend on high for 30 seconds until foamy. Alternatively, use an immersion blender in the pot.
- Divide among 4 mugs and serve.
Make your Own Pumpkin Pie Spice:
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
In a small bowl, mix together cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Store in an airtight container.
2 sugar pumpkins (or 2 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium shallots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup canned light coconut milk
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp each of sea salt, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a sharp knife cut off the tops of the sugar pumpkins and then halve them. Use a sharp spoon to scrape out all of the seeds and strings.
- Brush the flesh with oil and place face down on the baking sheet. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the skin. Remove from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes, then peel away skin and set pumpkin aside.
- To a large saucepan over medium heat add olive oil, shallot and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly browned and translucent. Turn down heat if cooking too quickly.
- Add remaining ingredients, including the pumpkin, and bring to a simmer.
- Transfer soup mixture to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree the soup. If using a blender, place a towel over the top of the lid before mixing to avoid any accidents. Pour mixture back into pot.
- Continue cooking over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes, taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.
Try pumpkin soup this month on October 29th in the Marketplace!
Then check out the carved pumpkins in the Club Center Lobby while snacking on delicious pumpkin treats on October 29, 2019.
Dietetic Intern at Carolina Meadows
MPH/RD Candidate 2020
Gillings School of Global Public Health – Department of Nutrition
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Jillian Schoening MS, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian at Carolina Meadows
If you have any nutrition questions or are interested in one-on-one counseling, please contact Jillian Schoening at 919-370-7187 or firstname.lastname@example.org.