• Pumpkin

    Posted on October 22, 2012 by Elaine in 5 minute meal, Calorie Counter, Get in My Fridge!, Weight Loss.

    Autumn in Central Park with my 11 month old Shiba Inu!

    I love Autumn in New York City…  the beautiful color palette of trees, the crunch of leaves under your feet, and the mix of sun and cool breeze.  I also love the fashion of Fall – boots, scarves, hats, wool coats.  It is always a refreshing and welcome change after the humid, hot summer that is characteristic of NYC.

    aerial of Central Park in Autumn

    What I love most about the change of seasons is the different foods I get to nourish my body with.  As the weather starts to get cooler, my body tells me to stop eating certain foods and start eating others.  It is an inner clock that we all have that resets as the seasons change.

    My obsession with watermelon has left just as the summer has gone.  But my obsession with dark green leafy vegetables, soups, and everything pumpkin has arrived!

     

    Pumpkin Pie from a *real* pumpkin.

    Pumpkin Pie

    Pumpkin bread, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin tiramisu (which I had recently at The Mark and was absolutely decadent and delicious!), pumpkin beer, pumpkin spiced latte – you name it, New York City is embracing Autumn and embracing pumpkin season!

    Everywhere you walk, there are pumpkins – which isn’t helping my pumpkin obsession :) .

    But it is a healthy obsession that you can join in on!  Pumpkin is especially good for you.

    If you are looking for a low calorie snack that is packed full of vitamins and antioxidants, look no further.  100 grams of pumpkin has less than 30 calories!  It is the vegetable that is often recommended by dietitians  for people who need to lower their cholesterol or lose weight.

    Pumpkin is also a great source of dietary fiber and packed with vitamins A, C, and E.  As you may remember from a previous post of mine, color in vegetables and fruits indicate the amount of antioxidants and beta carotene they contain.  With its bright orange color, it is no surprise that pumpkin has loads of beta carotene and is great for your eyesight and skin!

     

    English: Pepitas - roasted and salted

    Pepitas – roasted and salted

    Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc and protein.  As mentioned in my previous post, pumpkin seeds are a great protein option where you can get that energy and muscle build.  100 grams of pumpkin seeds have 30 grams of protein!

    Pumpkin seeds are also nutritious for dogs and pumpkin puree is great for dogs who are constipated or need stools that are more moist.  Sorry, I digress and didn’t mean to put that image in your head while talking about food! LOL  Back to the imagery of food…

     

    Pumpkins, photographed in Canada.

    Pumpkins

    So you can buy a pumpkin and have numerous uses for it – you can decorate it with your kids by carving it or drawing on it, you can use the meat to make pumpkin pie or pumpkin soup and then toast or roast the pumpkin seeds.  AND… you can feed your dogs with it too!

    To pick a good pumpkin, make sure it feels heavy.  That means that it is moist and not dried up.    A whole pumpkin can keep for a long time but once it is cut open, it can get moldy pretty quickly if not cooked or used within a few days.  Make sure to refrigerate any unused portions.  You can make pumpkin puree by sticking your entire pumpkin in the oven without having to cut it up!  As long as it can fit in your oven, just  make sure to make some piercings in it with a knife to let the steam out while it is baking soft.

    One final thought about pumpkin –  if you love pumpkin as much as I do and want to have it in your kitchen all year round, you can also buy canned pumpkin.  Just make sure it is organic and made with real pumpkin puree.  Most canned pumpkin is made for making pumpkin pie and can be high in sugar.

    So if you are out picking pumpkins for your kids or for yourself in anticipation of Halloween, make sure you also pick up a second one to cook with.  Experiment at home to make yourself a  pumpkin something and embrace the season!

     

    Pumpkin display on the Upper East Side

     

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