Change Your Choices

Change Your Life…Tips for a healthier you

Props to Pumpkin!

on October 5, 2011

 

We have our annual pumpkin blowout at the store  this Saturday so pumpkins are everywhere!  Thousands and thousands of pumpkins.  Granted, these are the kind that are used for Jack-O-Lanterns, but it’s a good lead in to talk about pumpkin, the super food.  Thanks to hungry-girl.com for teaching me to enjoy this vegetable. 

Why eat pumpkin?

1- It’s full of fiber. High-fiber foods help to keep us feeling full and satisfied.  The fact that pumpkin features naturally occurring, plant-style fiber is an extra-special bonus.

2-It’s full of nutrients. In addition to fiber, there are many other nutrients packed into pumpkin.  Carotenoids like beta-carotene are plentiful, as is vitamin A (each 1/2-cup serving has 300% the daily value!). It is also full of muscle-building potassium.

3-Delicious yet neutral.  Pumpkin is naturally delicious with a fantastic creamy texture, but it’s not that sweet on its own. Its mild taste makes it an excellent base for all sorts of flavors: cheesy, spicy, maple-y… even chocolatey! This means you can use it in SO many recipes.

I have never purchased a pie pumpkin and probably never will, it is just too much work when the canned stuff is pretty healthy.  Make sure you buy 100% canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix.  They might look the same but the pie mix is loaded with sugar and calories. 

The facts:

Per Serving:  (1/2 cup): 40 calories, 0.5g fat, 5mg sodium, 9g carbs, 5g fiber, 4g sugars, 2g protein — PointsPlus® value 0*

My favorite pumpkin recipe- once again, thanks to Hungry Girl.

Oh, Fudge!  
 
Ingredients:
1 box Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies Mix (the 18.3-oz. Family Size box)
2 cups canned pure pumpkin
2 cups mini marshmallows
1/4 cup slivered almonds, lightly crushed
2 tbsp. Hershey’s Lite chocolate syrup

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine brownie mix, pumpkin, and chocolate syrup in a large bowl, and stir until completely mixed and smooth. (Batter will be thick!) Spray a mid-sized baking pan (8″ X 8″ works best) with nonstick spray and pour in the mixture. Smooth the top of the batter with a spatula.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove pan from the oven, and evenly distribute mini marshmallows across the top of the batter. Sprinkle almonds over the marshmallows. Using a spatula, press down on the marshmallow-nut layer to help it adhere to the batter.

Return pan to the oven, and bake for 10 additional minutes. Remove pan from the oven, and let cool slightly. Refrigerate, uncovered, for several hours, until completely chilled. (Important! Do not cover pan while initially chilling it in the fridge.) Cut into 36 squares and serve!

MAKES 36 SERVINGS

 
  Serving Size: 1 square
Calories: 73
Fat: 1g
Sodium: 52mg
Carbs: 15.5g
Fiber: 1g
Sugars: 10g
Protein: 1g

PointsPlus® value 2*

Compare this to regular fudge:

Serving Size: 1 square
Calories: 226
Fat: 10g
Sodium: 35mg
Carbs: 34g
Fiber: 1g
Sugars: 29g
Protein: 2g

PointsPlus® value 6*

 

 

Remember, pumpkins are good for more than just holding a candle!

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