How to Eat Pumpkin Without Looking Like One

by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN

With Halloween and Thanksgiving upon us, we all know that delicious round object that glistens a bright orange color – pumpkins! This time of year, we find ourselves looking at and consuming pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin spice coffee and lattes… the list goes on and on. Clearly, pumpkin is not calorie-free, and all of this pumpkin madness could cause you to put on some extra pounds this season. To save you from looking like a pumpkin, I’m going to share some great and healthy ways for you to eat pumpkin this year.

1.    Pumpkin Seeds

Whether you buy them from the store or make them at home, you can’t go wrong with healthy and delicious pumpkin seeds in your diet. You can eat pumpkin seeds while at the office, on the go, as a midnight snack, or to stay satiated throughout the day and curb your appetite thanks to its fiber content. It’s hard to go wrong with consuming pumpkin seeds (any time of year, really). Just be sure you have a way to store them properly so they don’t go bad on you before you have an opportunity to eat them all (and eating them all in one sitting is not a valid solution).

2.    Pumpkin Oatmeal

Oatmeal is an extremely healthy breakfast food option, so why not take something you are probably already consuming due to its health benefits and add some yummy pumpkin to it? If you like to eat pumpkin, you’re going to love your morning bowl of oatmeal when you toss in a spoonful (or two) of canned pumpkin. Obviously, it would be best to use plain oatmeal for this, as adding pumpkin to a flavored oatmeal might not taste the best and could completely ruin your bowl of oatmeal. If you want to take your bowl of pumpkin oatmeal to the next level, consider adding some toasted almonds as well as topping it off with some cinnamon.

3.    Pumpkin Smoothie

A pumpkin smoothie makes for a delicious treat at any time of the day. Additionally, if you exercise (which I’m hoping you do), you can make an amazing post-workout protein smoothie to help boost your recovery. It’s extremely simple to make as all you need is ice, some canned pumpkin, almond milk (or any type of milk you prefer), pumpkin pie spice, some vanilla yogurt, and if you want the added protein, you can add in your favorite vanilla protein powder. Simply toss everything into a blender, turn it on and watch your mouth-watering pumpkin smoothie form right before your very eyes. Get yourself a glass to put it in, or drink it right out of the blender (we won’t judge you).

4.    Pumpkin Spice Coffee

I’d love to tell you to hit up your local Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, but unfortunately, what you will generally order from those locations will not be so friendly with the calories per beverage (not to mention the super high sugar content). To simplify the process and save yourself some time and money, you can actually make your own right in the privacy of your own home whenever you want. All you need to do is take a freshly brewed cup of coffee, toss in two tablespoons of canned pumpkin, and if you wish, top it off with some cinnamon and almond milk. You can also add in a sugar substitute if you wish, such as Splenda or Stevia. Heck, you could even make your own pumpkin spice iced coffee if you wish!

5.    Pumpkin-Flavored Yogurt

Another “eat pumpkin whenever you want” option is pumpkin-flavored yogurt. Simply take a plain or vanilla Greek yogurt, add in a scoop (more or less to suit your taste) of canned pumpkin, and then any toppings (such as pecans or other nuts) along with your favorite sweetener, and you have a mind-blowing pumpkin-flavored yogurt. Have it with your breakfast or pack a small bowl of it to take with you to work. Life is better with pumpkin in it!

Now that you have some ideas on how to eat pumpkin without looking like one, which of the above are you going to consume this Halloween and Thanksgiving? Let us know down in the comments!

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