Punch up your Healthy Diet with Pumpkin

Also known as: Cucurbita pepo, Winter Squash, Gourd

Likes: Cinnamon and other warming, sweet spices

Dislikes: Overcooking

Hobbies: Scaring up some fun with her carved and glowing faces at Halloween

Find her: In the pumpkin patch surrounded by eager kids of all ages, in your local pie shop, or folded into soft pillows of ravioli

If any fruit or vegetable truly sums up fall, it is Pumpkin.  She brings to mind colder days and cozy kitchens with all the family fun in between.  She conjures warm feelings and good memories and enjoys dishing up comfort any day of the week in soups and stews, pastas, breads, desserts and more.  And while she has become an ingrained part of many holidays and traditions, thanks to her long history in America, she looks forward to being included in your meals year round and not just on holidays.

This uniquely colored cousin of the gourd and squash stands out both in the garden and in your healthy diet.  While this sweet lady is traditionally associated with higher fat and calorie ingredients like cream, butter and sugar, she’d like to introduce you to all she has to offer beyond Grandma’s pie.  Her high vitamin A content, important for healthy eyes, and vitamin C, to help boost your immune system, make her a good addition to your healthy diet at home and at restaurants.  On top of that, she can add fiber and antioxidants to your diet to help keep your heart healthy and reduce your risk of certain cancers.  Why wouldn’t you include her in every meal? Pumpkin often wonders.

If you are looking for ways to enjoy this fall favorite now and throughout the coming months without ditching your diet, try:

  • Adding cubed Pumpkin to soups and stews for sweet variety
  • Mixing pureed Pumpkin into hot cereals for a touch of the sweetness and added nutrition
  • Including Pumpkin in muffins and breads for moist and flavorful baked goods
  • Adding Pumpkin to whole grains either pureed or cubed for texture and an unexpected taste