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Natural Awakenings Hartford

Think Beyond Pie!

Think Beyond Pie!

Pumpkin Offers Health Benefits

by Shana Griffin

At 50 calories, 3 grams of fiber per cup, and chock full of Vitamin A, C and K, there is definitely a place for pumpkin in most diets. If you’re looking for creative ways to cash in on the health benefits of pumpkin in your diet, look no further. Try some of these creative ways to pack in the pumpkin this fall.

Panini & Sandwiches

Forget mayo or mustard. Spread away with pumpkin puree! A combo of pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling), garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper provides a wonderful fall flavor boost to a turkey and spinach sandwich.

Pumpkin Protein Spread (or Frosting)
Try mixing canned pumpkin with almond butter, vanilla protein powder and a dash of cinnamon. Perfect on a whole-grain English muffin, pita, cupcake or banana.

Pumpkin Pesto
No need to be traditional here. Try making your own pesto with pumpkin puree, pecans, garlic and some Parmesan cheese. This sweet and savory spread goes great on pasta, veggies or whole-grain crackers.

Spruce up green salads with chopped roasted pumpkin. Add to arugula with dried cranberries, walnuts or pecans and salmon.

Warm up with your next bowl of chili by adding pumpkin. The sweet and nutty flavor adds a wonderful depth even kids will love.

“Pumpy” Pancakes
Add 1/2 cup pumpkin puree and 1/2 tsp pumpkin-pie spice to your favorite pancake batter. Cook, then top with 100 percent pure maple syrup and crunchy cinnamon pumpkin seeds, or spread on almond butter for a fun pancake sandwich. These are great to make and freeze for a grab ‘n go snack or meal.

No-Cook Pumpkin Granola Bites
Combine 1 cup oatmeal, 1/2 tsp pumpkin-pie spice, 3 Tbsp pumpkin puree, 2 Tbsp maple syrup and 1/4 cup raisins (or dark mini chocolate chips) in a mixing bowl. Form into 1-inch round balls and enjoy.

Pumpkin Oats
Stir 1/4 cup pumpkin puree into prepared oatmeal, and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey.

Shana Griffin is the registered dietitian for the ShopRite of Canton, 110 Albany Tpke, Ste 200, Canton. See ad, page 6.

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