It’s fall y’all, which means flannels, cozy sweaters, cider, and of course, all things pumpkin!
We all know not everyone is a huge fan of pumpkins. Still, we are on a mission to change your mind by listing out some of the fantastic benefits of pumpkins to help you ease into adding them to your fall and winter diet and even sending you on your way with a few recipe ideas.
So Why All The Rage Over Pumpkins?
Pumpkin is a winter squash native to North America and is particularly popular around the fall months. Pumpkins are not only delicious, but they also are jam-packed with nutrients and can easily be cooked into many recipes and can be prepared in several ways. Pumpkins are packed full of antioxidants, potassium, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, riboflavin, copper, and manganese, just to name a few! Pretty impressive, huh, and it doesn’t stop there!
Here are the top 5 reasons you need to pumpkin (spice) up your life.
#1 Highly Nutritious:
As mentioned above, pumpkins are PACKED with tons of great nutrients and minerals. Pumpkins also have a great macro-nutrient makeup and are a low-calorie food option for all.
#2 High In Antioxidants:
Pumpkins contain antioxidants, such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. These compounds can neutralize free radicals, stopping them from damaging your cells and potentially preventing certain cancers.
#3 Promotes Healthy Skin:
Pumpkins contain several essential vitamins and minerals to keep your skin healthy and flawless, like vitamins C and E, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Additionally, you don’t need to eat pumpkins for these benefits; you can apply a pumpkin face mask at home for benefits like lightening dark spots, stimulating collagen production, and deeply hydrating the skin.
#4 Great for digestion:
Due to the high fiber content, pumpkin helps you digest your food efficiently and helps your body absorb the maximum amount of nutrients from the food you consume. The additional fiber from pumpkins can keep you from getting constipated as well.
#5 Aids in weight loss:
High fiber means feeling full for longer and can result in appetite suppression. Pumpkin also has under 50 calories per cup (245 grams), making it an excellent option for those trying to lose weight.
Sneaking Pumpkin Into Your Diet
Ready to jump into the pumpkin craze and feel all the benefits of this fall superfood? Here are a few ideas of how you can sneak pumpkin into any meal of the day!
- Waffles: For a crispier (and healthier) fall morning breakfast, try adding one cup of pumpkin puree to your waffle mix.
- Oatmeal: Pumpkin pie lovers rejoice! Now you can have your pie and eat it too. For a healthier version of this classic dessert, try adding pumpkin puree to your oats. Add crushed graham crackers, pecans, and a touch of maple syrup for the whole pumpkin pie effect.
- Quesadillas: Give your usual Mexican favorite a little fall twist. Add chopped, sauteed pumpkin, along with all of your typical quesadilla fillers like cheese, peppers, and jalapeños for a festive fall lunch or dinner.
- Chili: To an extra sprinkle of festive fun by adding cubed pumpkin to your traditional chili recipe. The pumpkin will add a sweet, nutty flavor to the bowl to satisfy your autumn taste buds.
- Custard: We recommend making your own pumpkin custard for a cool and creamy, perfectly fall festive treat. Mix pumpkin puree with Greek yogurt and freeze. Looking to ditch the dairy? Grab coconut yogurt or any dairy-free yogurt to turn this creation into a vegan and lactose-free treat.
- Cookies: Move over snickerdoodle, tis’ the season for pumpkin spice and everything nice. We crafted the perfect gluten-free, vegan soft cookie we know you’ll love. Check it out below.
Allergen Friendly Super Soft Pumpkin Spice Cookies
Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin spice lattes usually steal the show for pumpkin-flavored sweets during this time of year; however, this pumpkin cookie will be your new fall favorite. We wanted to bring a healthy recipe suitable for the masses, so these delightful cookies are vegan and gluten-free.
Here’s What You Need:
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter (or solid virgin coconut oil)
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Let’s Get Cooking:
First things first, preheat the oven to 350°F, then line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl using a hand mixer, combine vegan butter (or solid coconut oil), coconut sugar (or brown sugar), and vanilla extract. Beat on high for 30 seconds until well mixed. Then add in the pumpkin puree and continue to beat for another 30 seconds.
Next, put the mixer on low, add the cinnamon, ginger, oat flour, almond flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until dough forms.
Note: if the dough is a bit dry, try adding 1-2 tablespoons of almond milk.
Lastly, scoop out heaping tablespoons of the dough and roll them into separate balls. If the dough is sticking to your hands, lightly dampen them with water as needed. Gently press each ball with your hand to flatten it a little. Bake for 12-13 minutes, until lightly golden brown on the bottom. This recipe makes roughly 12 cookies. Set aside and allow to cool before enjoying!
Add Some Pumpkin Spice To Your Life
Healthy skin, improved digestion, and an ambulance of vitamins and minerals make pumpkins an excellent choice for picky eaters to enjoy, as pumpkins can be made into both sweet and savory dishes. Jump on the pumpkin trend early this year, with Geniusrx, and enjoy all the benefits of pumpkins all autumn long.