Tips for weight loss with pumpkins are here! Each year at the outset of the holiday season, pumpkin patches, farm stands and roadside lean-to’s beckon with plump pumpkins that promise exciting carving and culinary opportunities. But did you know that in addition to decorating, and calorie-dense treats like pumpkin bread and your Aunt Syl’s tangy, velvety pumpkin pie, pumpkins really can aid in weight loss?
On the health and weight loss front, this fiber-rich autumn icon is loaded with vitamins A, B6, C and E, potassium—more than a banana, antioxidant beta-carotene, calcium, iron, thiamin and niacin. No longer the sole bastion of rich desserts, canned or fresh pumpkin is great in healthful soups—said to aid in detox, main dishes and protein smoothies; in oatmeal, yogurt, mixed into hot cider, juices and more.
Tips for Weight Loss: Seasonal Treat
In fact pumpkin is a handy, healthy dessert right out of the can. Just use ½ cup—40 calories; 8 grams of dietary fiber—warmed and mixed with a little cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and pecans, walnuts or almonds (add golden raisins for extra fiber and sweetness). Its high fiber quality makes pumpkin fill you up longer in that it slows the rate at which glucose is absorbed by the body, and maintains blood sugar levels so they don’t plummet as quickly leaving you hungry (and grouchy!). Its low fat, low calorie, low sugar, cholesterol-free content makes it healthy and desirable.
Aesthetically, among the legions of pumpkins from which to choose are varieties with names like Winter Luxury, Autumn Gold, Harvest Moon, Howden Biggie, Baby Bear, Funny Face, Young’s Beauty, Spooktacular, Ghost Rider, Triple Treat and Happy Jack—although the smaller ones called “sugar pumpkins” are better for cooking and eating than others. Their colors even run the rainbow gamut from traditional orange to dusty white, pale blue, green, grey, yellow, red and yes – black.
If using canned pumpkin in traditional (high calorie; high fat) holiday recipes, try substituting evaporated skim milk for cream and use one egg yolk for every two eggs called for in the recipe. And be sure to forego the crust, which will save oodles of calories.
It’s also no secret that pumpkin seeds are uber-low in calories, high in fiber and easy to make at home. Just remove from pumpkin, clean away strings, spread in a single layer on an oiled (use cooking spray) baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes. Toss when warm with a little olive oil, salt and your choice of spices. These seeds (and some others) are high in phytosterols, plant-based chemicals said to lowere LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Tips for Weight Loss: Make Smoothies!
Our tips for weight loss conclude with these easy seasonal recipes that delight family and friends, help you in your weight loss pursuits and show you how to make the most of pumpkin time.
- 1 can pumpkin pie filling (differs from canned pumpkin, as it has spices)
- 3 cups skim milk
- ½ cup vanilla lowfat yogurt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup ground cinnamon graham crackers (optional)
Spoon pumpkin pie filling into muffin cups, cover with foil and freeze. When ready to prepare, add milk and yogurt to blender. Add four of the frozen pumpkin pie fillings (save rest for another batch). Add cinnamon and blend until smooth. Top with graham cracker crumbs if preferred and serve.
Warm Pumpkin Apple Cider Soup
(delicious in generous mugs after a long day scouting for pumpkins in the autumn air!)
- 2 apples, peeled and diced (such as Honeycrisp)
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 cups low sodium chicken stock
- ¾ cup apple cider
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) pumpkin puree
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- ½ cup cream (or substitute evaporated skim milk)
Set a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add olive oil and then add onion, apple, and a pinch of kosher salt. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent.
Pour in chicken stock, cider, thyme, and pepper and bring mixture to a boil for one minute. Add pumpkin and stir ingredients together until smooth. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Stir in cream and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved. Simmer soup for about 10 minutes or until heated through. Serve warm.