All Things Pumpkin

by Ann Hutyra

Fall is one of my absolute favorite times of the year! Our hot Texas Summers finally cool down, the holidays are on the horizon, and all the beautiful pumpkins and gourds start showing up at my neighborhood grocery store. Not only are pumpkins and winter squash a beautiful addition to a thanksgiving centerpiece, but they’re also full of so many amazing nutrients!

Here’s a rundown of the nutritional benefits of the most common winter squash and pumpkins you’ll find this season:

●  Spaghetti squash – high in beta carotene, high in Vitamin A, great pasta substitute!

●  Butternut squash – helps regulate blood pressure, improves digestion, boosts immunity
●  Acorn squash – rich in dietary fiber, Vitamins C, A, and B, and essential minerals like magnesium, potassium, copper, and calcium
●  Pumpkin – contains Vitamins A, E, C, K, and B6, boosts immunity, promotes weight loss
●  Pumpkin seeds – an excellent source of minerals like iron, magnesium and zinc, protein, and fiber

If you’re a fan of the pumpkin spice craze like I am, it can be hard to pass up all the product options you see at your neighborhood coffee shop and grocery store – pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin scones, and muffins, pumpkin bread, and pancakes. Store varieties of these products are typically full of unhealthy ingredients like processed sugars, refined wheat flour, and chemical preservatives – and often lack actual pumpkin, and instead, use artificial pumpkin flavor. It is possible to avoid all the processed sugars and empty calories and make pumpkin-inspired treats at home. Check out some of my own recipes below, inspired by the season!

Recipes:


Pumpkin Chia Pudding

This is a holiday twist on a classic chia pudding. Not only do you get the nutritional benefits of pumpkin here, but chia seeds really pack a punch! Chia seeds are full of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and omega-3s, and are a great plant source of protein.

Combine all of the following in a glass container with an airtight lid:

●  1 cup organic pumpkin puree
●  1 ½ cups full-fat coconut milk
●  ½ cup almond milk
●  1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
●  1 Tablespoon raw honey or maple syrup
●  ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
●  1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk the ingredients well. Place the lid on the container and refrigerate overnight. This chia pudding is delicious topped with coconut whipped cream, pecans, or fresh pomegranate.


Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes

These pancakes are a weekend favorite at my house! I adapted the original recipe to include the pumpkin, but you could substitute the pumpkin with mashed banana or applesauce to give the pancakes a different flavor profile.

Combine all of the following ingredients:

●  ¾ cup almond flour
●  ¼ cup coconut flour
●  3 eggs
●  ½ cup almond milk
●  ¼ cup pumpkin puree
●  1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
●  ¼ teaspoon baking soda
●  ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
●  1 teaspoon vanilla
●  Pinch of sea salt
●  1 Tablespoon raw honey

Whisk the batter until smooth and no lumps remain. Let the batter sit for a few minutes to thicken. If your batter is too thin, you can add a tablespoon at a time of coconut flour until you get the desired consistency. Preheat your griddle on medium-high heat. Use a little coconut oil on the pan to prevent sticking, and pour the batter into medium-sized mounds on the pan (you may need to flatten them out with your spatula). Cook for a few minutes on each side until cooked through.


Chocolate Pumpkin Banana Smoothie

This is a really simple and delicious smoothie, with a little fall flare!

Combine the following in a blender and blend until smooth:

●  ½ a banana
●  ¼ cup pumpkin puree
●  1 scoop of plant-based protein powder (chocolate, vanilla, or plain)
●  1 or 2 Tablespoons of raw cacao powder (depending on your preferred level of chocolatey goodness)
●  ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
●  Superfoods of choice (optional) – I like to add reishi mushroom powder, collagen peptides, and ashwagandha, but you can customize
●  A handful of greens (spinach, kale, or mixed)
●  1 cup almond milk or other plant-based milk
●  A few ice cubes

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