While pumpkin pie, bread, cookies, and muffins are not exactly superfoods, raw pumpkin is high in Vitamin A and Potassium, relatively low in Calories, and totally delicious when prepared properly.
1 cup of canned pumpkin (not canned pumpkin pie mix!) contains 80 Calories, while 1 cup of raw, cubed pumpkin contains 30 Calories.
It’s important to remember that pumpkin seeds- while healthy- are also high in Calories thanks to their high fat content, so they are not a good option for those watching their weight.
If you’ve only ever consumed pumpkin in its sweetened form, we’ve got five easy, healthy ways to incorporate it into your diet without the extra sugar and Calories.
1. Go with the ‘gurt.
Grab your favorite plain or vanilla greek yogurt (watch the sugar content!) along with a can of plain canned pumpkin. Stir together ½ cup of yogurt and a ¼ cup of canned pumpkin with a sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, or pumpkin pie spice for a fast, festive fall breakfast.
2. Thicken soups.
Fall is soup season! While many recipes call for cream, flour, cornstarch, coconut milk, or other high Calorie additions to aid in thickening, you can sub out part of that for pumpkin to reduce Calories, increase fiber, and add Vitamins to your meal.
3. Roast it!
Roasting carrots, onions, and other veggies alongside a turkey, chicken, or pork tenderloin? Add some pumpkin to the mix! Pumpkin lends itself well to roasting alongside savory veggies and herbs. Toss pumpkin, carrots, and onion with a small amount of olive oil, garlic, and thyme, sage, or oregano and get to roasting!
4. Sub it!
If you do plan on doing some fall baking, you can safely sub up to half of the butter in a muffin or quick bread recipe with plain, canned pumpkin to moderately reduce Calories and fat.
5. Dress it!
While most of us are accustomed to uncooked salads, adding cooked components like roasted pumpkins and squashes to bright, peppery salad greens lends a more multidimensional experience to the typical side dish.