“It’s the great pumpkin, Charlie Brown” time again! In addition to being carved for Halloween or arranged on front porches as an autumn harvest decoration, pumpkins are one of nature’s most nutritious and flavorful foods! “Don’t let your friends make you think you are basic with grabbing pumpkin recipes this fall,” says Jackie Elnahar, RD, Esq., head of Teladoc Health Dietitian Services. “Pumpkin has a high antioxidant count with beta carotene and lutein.”
One cup of cooked pumpkin pulp (no added salt or fat) has:
It’s also a great source of the micronutrients beta carotene, iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin K.1 And don’t toss the seeds either. Just roast and eat them like peanuts or sunflower seeds (Fun tip: You can eat the shell too). Or you can buy shelled seeds, called pepitas, in many grocery stores.
While cooking your own pumpkin is pretty easy (just scoop out the meat, separate it from the seeds, cut into pieces, and boil it in unsalted water until soft), you can avoid the mess by using canned pumpkin (it’s usually in the canned fruits aisle; but don’t confuse it with canned pumpkin pie filling, which is parked in the baking aisle).
Pumpkin is extremely versatile; you can replace some of the fat and sweetener in your favorite baked goods with pureed or canned pumpkin. “It is also an excellent source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats in vegetable burgers,” Jackie adds. And did you know that pumpkin works wonders for skin too? Slather it on your face, and your skin will glow!
Here are five not-so-common ways to use pumpkin and pumpkin seeds:
Teladoc hopes you enjoy the season of the pumpkin. And if the weather change puts you under the weather, our board-certified doctors can help diagnose and recommend treatments for non-emergency conditions such as flu, dry skin, upper respiratory infections, and much more. Just use the app to request an appointment 24/7, anywhere you are.
Have a ghoulishly good holiday!
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