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My favorite part of the fall season? It’s making pumpkin a big part of my diet. Pumpkins are low in calories and loaded with nutrients like Vitamins A, B6, C and E as well as potassium and folate. This delicious fruit (pumpkin is not a vegetable!) is primarily thought of as a favorite pie ingredient and aspiring Jack ‘o Lantern. But it can be incorporated into your meals without adding sugar, as is the case in many pumpkin recipes. Here are a few health-conscious suggestions you can try:

 

Pumpkin-Inspired Meal Ideas:

    • Add canned pumpkin into a pot of hot oatmeal with a dash of cinnamon.
    • Add canned pumpkin into your pancake mix.
    • Make a Pumpkin Pie Smoothie in a blender using:
      • ½ cup pumpkin puree
      • ½ banana
      • 6 oz.  nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
      • ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
      • ½ Tbsp. honey
      • 1 cup crushed ice
    • Make Pumpkin Mac n’ Cheese:
      • Box of whole wheat penne pasta
      • 2 tsp. olive oil
      • 1 medium onion, chopped
      • 3 cups spinach
      • 1 can of pumpkin puree
      • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
      • ½ cup water
      • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
        • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
        • Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to directions on package minus 2 minutes, and reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water when done.
        • Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet. Sauté onions and spinach until softened.
        • Stir in canned pumpkin and ricotta cheese. Empty drained pasta plus 1/2 cup of reserved cooking water into skillet and mix well.
        • Spoon pasta into 11 x 7 baking dish. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!