For the Love of All Things Pumpkin… It Is Fall!

Nothing rings in the Fall equinox like the smell of pumpkin spice EVERYTHING! While pumpkin spice lattes and caramel apples are not things I typically include in my patient’s diet, pumpkin itself is a very healthy food and boasts a host of health benefits. Pumpkin is particularly high in Vitamin A which helps promote eye and skin health. Pumpkin is also a great source of vitamin C and pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc; both of these micronutrients are essential for immune function which is extremely important as we enter into flu season. Pumpkin is also a great way to add flavor to foods when you are trying to control calories; at only 49kcals and 3g of fiber per cup, pumpkin can help you stay fuller longer on less total calories.

You can always cut the pumpkin down, core it, remove the seeds and roast it or you can just purchase organic canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) to obtain all of the health and flavor benefits. I love to add a few tablespoons of canned pumpkin to my oatmeal, along with cinnamon and pumpkin seeds, for a delicious fall treat. You can also find recipes online for many healthy pumpkin inspired dishes. One of my favorite pumpkin bread recipes is listed below. Happy healthy fall baking everyone! Make sure you celebrate the season and get your wholesome pumpkin fix.

Healthy Pumpkin Bread

Adapted from https://cookieandkate.com/healthy-pumpkin-bread-recipe/

Serves: 8 Slices

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup of honey or maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup of milk of your choice
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 ¾ cup of white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
  • Optional: ½ cup of mix ins like chocolate chips, dried fruit, walnuts or pecans

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius) and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the oil and honey together with a whisk. Add the eggs and whisk until blended. (If your coconut oil solidifies on contact with cold ingredients, simply let the bowl rest in a warm place for a few minutes, like on top of your stove, or warm it for about 10 seconds in the microwave.)
  3. Add the pumpkin purée, milk, pumpkin spice, baking soda, vanilla and salt, and whisk to blend. Lastly, switch to a big spoon and stir in the flour, just until combined. Some lumps are ok! If you’re adding any additional mix-ins, gently fold them in now.
  4. Pour the batter into your greased loaf pan and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. If you’d like a pretty swirled effect, run the tip of a knife across the batter in a zig-zag pattern.
  5. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (typically, if I haven’t added any mix-ins, my bread is done at 55 minutes; if I have added mix-ins, it needs closer to 60 minutes). Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer the bread to a cooling rack to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

Nutrition: Per Slice: 185kcals, 10.5g of Fat, 21g of Carbohydrates, 1.6g of Fiber, 13g of Sugar and 2.8g of Protein

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