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M.I.S.S. Healthy Bites: It’s Pumpkin Time!

It's pumpkin time!

It's pumpkin time!

Grab your carving knife and get creative…and healthy.  It’s the fall season, the best time for pumpkins straight from the vine.  Pumpkins make festive Halloween decor, but they can also make a tasty, nutritious source of fruit.  Don’t start digging into that pumpkin pie just yet, because pumpkins can pop up on your plate in other healthier ways.

One of the best parts about carving a pumpkin is scooping out all the insides.  But don’t even think about tossing the seeds, because you can make yourself a healthy snack that’s so good, you’ll wish you carved more pumpkins!  After rinsing and drying off the seeds, coat with a small amount of oil and your favorite seasonings.  Arrange in a single layer on a baking tray and bake for around 30 minutes.  Then just munch and enjoy!  No need to remove the hull like sunflower seeds, because after a good toasting, the hull will be crunchy like chips!

Not carving a pumpkin?  You can buy roasted pumpkin seeds, a.k.a. pepitas, but most sold in stores do not have the hull.  No worries, because they’re still delicious!  Pumpkin seeds are a great way to add a punch of protein to your salad or trail mix to help build muscles and provide healthy skin and nails.

The flesh is the part of the pumpkin where all of that trademark flavor can be found.  Most pumpkin pies use canned pumpkin, but with the abundance of pumpkins during this season, there’s no reason not to use something fresh…and healthy.  No matter how you prepare it, this orange fruit will give you a good dose of Vitamin A to help with your vision.  Try pumpkin on your plate in these different ways:

  • Mash it up.  Boil or roast the fruit and mash it up.  For the sweeter flavor, add cinnamon and honey, but for something savory, chives and lemon would satisfy the taste buds.
  • Throw it in the blender.  Puree roasted pumpkin with some broth and a little bit of cream for a comforting soup.
  • Use it to fill you up.  Pumpkin makes a great filling for anything from ravioli to tamales!
  • Sauté up some flavor.  Cook the fruit with some butter and herbs and serve with your favorite grain.  Pumpkins taste great as the main course.
  • Bake some bread.  Pumpkin bread has all the flavor of pumpkin pie, except you can eat it for breakfast and not feel guilty.

Now, you might want to trade in your carving knife for a chef’s knife!  How do you like your pumpkin, pumpkins?

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