Fall and Thanksgiving are right around the corner, which means the pumpkin-flavored cakes, cookies and pies are popping up everywhere. It’s easy to justify that piece of pumpkin pie because pumpkins are good for us (which is very true). Pumpkins contain many antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. It is also a good source of B-complex vitamins and minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
But is there a way to get all the health benefits of pumpkin without all the added sugar and calories? Hy-Vee Dietitian Teresa Blauwet has some great tips for delicious, healthier pumpkin-flavored treats:
- Use canned pumpkin puree instead of pumpkin pie mix for less added sugar
- Make overnight pumpkin and pumpkin spice oatmeal. Just a spoonful of puree and a dash of spice with your regular oatmeal and let it sit overnight.
- Add pumpkin and pumpkin spice to your whole grain pancake mix; for about every 2 cups pancake mix add about ½ cup pumpkin puree and 1 ½ tsp pumpkin spice, you may also need about ¼ cup less liquid depending on your pancake recipe.
- Add about one can of pumpkin to your favorite chili recipe to add nutrition and creaminess.
- Mix pumpkin with tomato-based products such as casseroles or spaghetti. Pumpkin itself has very little flavor, it is the spices that give it the distinct flavor profile! You can about ¼ the amount of tomato based product you are using, example for 1 cup spaghetti sauce, add ¼ cup pumpkin and stir thoroughly.
- Mix pumpkin and spices in your smoothies, add small amounts slowly until you find your personal preference of how much you like – Add cold coffee, ice, and milk of choice to make a pumpkin frappuccino.
Here’s a recipe to get you into pumpkin season. These are great for days you need a grab-n-go breakfast option.
Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies
Yield: 12 cookies
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 cup rolled old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup quick cooking oats
- ⅔ cup unsweetened, dried cranberries
- ⅔ cup pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup ground flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet.
- In a small bowl warm coconut oil and honey (do this in the microwave, inside preheating oven or on the stove top).
- In a large bowl combine both kinds of oats, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, ground flax, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Add pumpkin puree, eggs and warmed coconut oil and honey. Stir until fully combined.
- Drop about ¼ cup sized scoops of the mixture onto a cookie sheet and flatten (cookies won’t spread while baking). Bake for about 15-20 minutes until edges are lightly browned.
Let cookies cool on baking sheet before moving to an airtight storage container.
Serving size: 1 cookie Calories: 221 Fat: 10.8g Saturated fat: 5g Carbohydrates: 27.2g Sugar: 10.7g Sodium: 111.6mg Fiber: 3.9g Protein: 6.7g Cholesterol: 31mg