Pumpkin Up!

by Rachel on September 9, 2009

You know it’s fall when Starbucks brings out the Pumpkin Latte. Mmmm! Seeing it on the menu last night was a lovely reminder that it’s autumn…and that it’s time to pump up the pumpkin in your meals! Adding pumpkin to your everyday foods this time of year is a great way to prevent food boredom, impart a yummy seasonal flavor, and get a hella dose of good-for-you stuff.

  • Pumpkins are full of carotenoids—these antioxidants are what make pumpkins orange. Antioxidants are what protect our cells from damage—damage that leads to everything from wrinkles to cancer.
  • Pumpkins also have lutein, which is great for your eyes. People always say eat carrots for good vision, but pumpkin for your peepers works too!
  • Pumpkins have a nice dose of potassium.
  • Pumpkins are high in fiber and low in fat. A half-cup serving has about 40 calories and 3 grams of fiber. Not too shabby!
  • Pumpkin seeds are high in iron, zinc, magnesium, and protein. And they are delicious! If you haven’t tried them lately, get a bag, like, now. (Or save yours to roast when it’s Jack-O-Lantern time.)

For many health-conscious girls, canned pumpkin is king and Libby’s is the brand to buy. It’s all-natural and preservative free. Canned pumpkin is fabulous because you can use it in a variety of recipes and it’s so cheap. Under $2 for a can–and one can will go a long way.

Unfortunately, due to a bad crop, canned pumpkin is MIA on many store shelves right now nationwide. I found mine at the little corner store where people are obviously not buying canned pumpkin on a regular basis. You might have to check a few places, but it’s worth it. (Especially now, before the crazy Thanksgiving shoppers start wrestling you for it like it’s a new Beanie Baby circa 1997.) I was so excited to find pumpkin, I cleaned them out!

Judging from people’s enthusiasm for pumpkin, I’m going to go ahead and declare it the new peanut butter. Don’t believe me? Well, then, smartass, why don’t you try combining pumpkin and peanut butter? Mix together a half-cup of canned pumpkin and a half-cup of creamy or chunky peanut butter. Try and tell me that doesn’t give your life new meaning!

I am going to start posting pumpkin recipes regularly (there are approximately….one billion) so you can get the most out of your cans. So start stockpiling the stuff like it’s going out of style and get pumped!!

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