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by Christina Wilson

As we ease into fall, It’s about to be that time of year again — pumpkin season.

Nutritionally speaking, cooked pumpkin is more nutrient-dense than the ubiquitous pumpkin-spice latte, as it's packed with vitamins and minerals! The bright orange color of the pumpkin defines a particularly beneficial phytonutrient: carotene. Carotene converts to vitamin A in the body for a tremendous punch of antioxidants to help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer and slow down signs of aging. Raw and cooked pumpkins provide an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which are great for skin health. Topical vitamin A–based drugs called retinoids—the most used and most studied anti-aging compounds— may reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Pumpkin also provides fiber that keeps you fuller and more satisfied for longer and helps stabilize your blood sugar, have healthy bowel movements, and lower cholesterol levels.

Generally, the seeds you dig out of your jack-o-lanterns are just plain old pumpkin seeds with shells. But, if you felt adventurous and tried to shuck them, you’d find a tiny seed, or pepitas, inside. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of magnesium, zinc, iron, fiber, and ALA, the plant form of essential fatty acids EFA. You can purchase sprouted or raw pepitas and roast ’em yourself. 

Enjoy pumpkin soup and protein smoothies with organic canned (BPA-free) pumpkins for ease. 

Here is a pumpkin smoothie recipe that no one will say "Boo," too!


Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (for a spicier, more robust ginger flavor, use more)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or other milk of choice) plus more, as needed for thinning

3-5 Ice cubes

Optional: 1 teaspoon molasses or maple syrup (or more, to taste)

Instruction:

Blend!

Add a tablespoon or two of almond butter if you want some extra fat for staying power in your smoothie.

Prefer a green smoothie? Add a big handful of fresh baby spinach to this smoothie without affecting the flavor. It will just look green, rather than orange, in color.

Healthier Pumpkin Spice Latte

There are many factors to consider when it comes to what makes something “healthy.” Unfortunately, Starbucks's classic pumpkin spice latte is known for its highly high added sugar content, at 50 grams per 16-ounce cup. If you opt to make a PSL at home, you can add smaller amounts of sugar, honey, or maple syrup or use sugar alternatives such as stevia or monk fruit.


If you're craving a holiday-themed coffee but want to avoid some higher sugar options, here is a recipe you can make in your home. Remember that you can always adjust recipes to meet your health goals and dietary restrictions.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of milk of choice or dairy-free alternative
  • 2-3 tablespoons pumpkin purée 
  • 1/2 heaping tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger 
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg 
  • 1 pinch ground allspice
  • 1 pinch ground clove 
  • 1 pinch ground cardamom 
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons maple syrup (or stevia to taste)
  • 1 shot espresso 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Heat the milk. Start by heating your milk of choice over medium-low heat until it is hot and almost simmering. Be careful to not boil the milk.
  2. Mix the ingredients. Make your espresso ()and pour it into a large mug or glass mason jar. Mix in pumpkin puree, sweetener, spices, and vanilla until well combined.
  3. Froth the milk. Use a milk frother to froth your milk for about 30 seconds or until foamy, then pour into the mug on top of the pumpkin espresso mixture. Reserve the extra foam, and spoon it on top.
  4. Top & enjoy. Feel free to top with whipped cream if you wanna get a little indulgent. Sprinkle with a little extra pumpkin spice or cinnamon, put on a sweater and enjoy!

 





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Christina Wilson
Christina Wilson

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