By Shawnna Filer, WIC Nutrition Technician

News From the Pumpkin Patch!

There is a crispness to the morning air, football is in full swing and the leaves are falling! That can only mean one thing; autumn is here and it is the perfect time to talk pumpkins!

Did you know that the pumpkin is classified as a superfood? Loaded with antioxidants and disease fighting vitamins, these gourds are not just for carving, they are a delicious and nutritious addition to your diet. The orange color comes from the massive amounts of beta-carotene, a pro-vitamin that converts to vitamin A in the body. What makes it extra special is that you don’t have to choose fresh pumpkin to get the health benefits! One cup of canned pumpkin contains 7 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and provides over 50% of the daily value of vitamin K, which may reduce the risk of developing lung or prostate cancer.

We must not overlook the pumpkin seed! It is a popular practice to roast the seeds from a freshly carved pumpkin. Here are some nutritional facts about the seeds. Pumpkin seeds contain the heart healthy Omega–3 and Omega–6 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber. The total combination of these has great benefits for the both the heart and liver.

Uncertain about what to cook with pumpkin? Here are a couple favorites from my recipe box; I hope they become new additions to yours!

Pumpkin Workout Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp. chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ cup sugar (or pure maple syrup, honey, or agave.)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8-inch pan with parchment paper. Warm peanut butter or almond butter until it is easy to stir. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stir until completely smooth and spread into the prepared pan. Bake on the center rack 20-25 minutes. They will be undercooked when you take them out. Let them cool, then cover with paper towel and refrigerate overnight; they will firm up then. Frost as desired, or eat as is!

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup milk of choice, or (for a richer taste) a combination of nondairy creamer and milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3-4 Tbsp strong coffee
  • Sugar or stevia to tasteHealthy Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe: Mix everything but the coffee with a fork or whisk. Then, for a hot latte, you can either microwave or heat on the stove. Add coffee and whisk again.
  • WIC is committed to providing good, sound nutrition education in addition to supplementary foods. Part of that education is passing along healthy, fun recipes that are also tasty! Hopefully, these recipes will provide all of those things for pumpkin lovers!
  • Instructions