When it comes to fall's power foods, antioxidant-rich pumpkin is tops. Here, some easy recipes for roasting, mashing, and snacking.
Marissa Lippert, R.D. and Men's Fitness Editors 1 / 5
If pumpkin automatically brings to mind your mom’s decadent pumpkin pie recipe—in all its sugary, buttery-crusted, waistline-expanding glory—let’s erase that Thanksgiving feast thinking.Because pumpkin is actually a versatile, nutrient-packed power food that should definitely be a key player for you during the fall season. And here’s why:
That shocking neon-orange flesh translates to serious antioxidant content—beta-carotene to be exact (read: the heart-disease fighters that keep you looking and feeling your best).
One cup of cooked pumpkin comes in at a mere 50 calories and about 3 grams of fiber—which will keep you sufficiently satisfied and energized.
The seeds are worth your while, too. Particularly high in protein (9 grams per 1 ounce serving), they also contain lutein, an antioxidant that aids vision, and a dose of phytosterols, which help keep LDL (“bad cholesterol”) levels low.
Convinced? Here are a few ways to work pumpkin into your diet.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds RecipeFor an easy snack, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss 1 cup dry, raw pumpkin seeds with 1-2 tablespoons canola or extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with chili powder, garlic powder, paprika and salt to taste. Roast on a cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Roasted Pumpkin RecipeFor a nutrient-packed side dish, try roasted pumpkin. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, then cut the flesh of one small sugar pumpkin into 2-inch chunks. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then bake on a baking sheet—or in a roasting pan—for 40 minutes.You can serve it alone with a drizzle of balsamic glaze (buy it at Trader Joe’s), or toss it into your favorite pasta or risotto recipe.
Mashed Pumpkin RecipeDo a healthier version of mashed potatoes: Boil pumpkin (diced into 1-inch cubes) first, then drain and return to pan. Mash with a little olive oil, garlic paste (to taste), salt, pepper, and fresh-grated parmesan cheese.
Pumpkin Almond Milk Smoothie
Skip the cooking and pick up a smoothie from Jamba Juice. The Pumpkin Almond Milk Smoothie is gluten-free and is packed with real pumpkin, plus other healthy ingredients like almond milk and bananas.