If you are like me, the start of Autumn also signals the start of my pumpkin obsession. I can almost taste that spicy delicious goodness as soon as I pack away the beach towels. Fortunately, I’m not alone, and it’s pretty easy to find pumpkin flavored goodies everywhere. But unfortunately, most of them are not for the calorie conscious. Pumpkin itself is actually extremely nutritious. This winter squash only contains 30 calories per cup. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins A & C, and Potassium. It touts anti inflammatory properties, as well as promotes eye health, immune system support, and healthy glowing skin.

How can we enjoy the pleasures of pumpkin, without all the added sugars and fat? It’s possible! Start out by baking, then pureeing a pumpkin (or, easier still, buy a can a pumpkin puree!). Then use your imagination, and start turning your favorite foods into a festive fall delight. For breakfast, try adding a few tablespoons to your yogurt or oatmeal along with some cinnamon, and a few chopped pecans. Adding pumpkin to your smoothies or protein shakes is also a great way to boost the nutritional value, as well as change up the flavor. Later in the day, try making mashed cauliflower, and mixing in pumpkin puree and spices. Or, add it to your chilli, or favorite fall soup and enjoy the slightly sweet, nutty flavor it adds.

Of course, the pumpkin baked goods tend to be what everyone craves. But most of what you will find commercially prepared doesn’t match up well with our nutrition recommendations. For some help with lightening up your pumpkin recipes, and working them into your meal plan, speak with a Nutrition Specialist. We certainly wouldn’t want you to miss out on this fall favorite!