1. While Charlie Brown’s pal Linus would have been appalled at the indignities we foist upon his favorite fruit, nutritionists are applauding.  Pumpkin is moving up the celebrity ladder of hot-shot Super Foods; and October is the perfect time of year to laud both its healthful properties and its culinary uses.

    Health Benefits of Pumpkin

    Extremely high in fiber.  Just one half cup provides a full 5g of fiber – more than in most breakfast cereals and bread slices.

    Low in calories.   A full cup contains only 83 calories.

    Packed with nutrients. Pumpkin contains potassium, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and vitamins C and E.

    Extremely rich in carotenoids.  Pumpkin contains both alpha and beta carotene, which have been linked to a host of health promoting and disease fighting activities including reducing the risk of certain cancers, acting as a powerful antioxidant, and possibly preventing free radical caused complications of long-term diabetes.  

    Most of us probably consume our meager annual portions of pumpkin during the fall months; but considering its many health benefits, this humble fruit deserves a place in our diets throughout the year.  Canned pumpkin makes it easy to enjoy the flavors and health benefits regardless of the season.  By adding a quarter cup of pumpkin to your yogurt, topping with a sprinkle of cinnamon and your favorite granola, you can take breakfast to a whole new level.  We all know about baking canned pumpkin into muffins or cookies; but how about adding it to your favorite chili recipe?  The heavy spices will mask the pumpkin flavor; but a mere half cup will seriously boost your recipe’s vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

    Remember eating pumpkin seeds as a kid?  Pepitas are hulled pumpkin seeds without the salty coating, and these little gems are a nutritional wonderland.  Often found in health food stores or gourmet markets,  pepitas can be mixed into your favorite oatmeal cookie recipe, used to top salads, ground and added to burgers, or even sauted in a little butter and used as a comliment to steamed green beans. 

    Since we are, indeed, knee-deep into fall, today’s recipe reflects all the sweet and spicy flavors we’ve come to expect when we think of  pumpkin. This simple pudding can be thrown together in no time at all and offers all the flavor of a pumpkin pie without the fat and calories added by a buttery, trans-fat laden crust.  If you miss the textural contrast, top with a tablespoon of toasted, chopped pecans or a bit of crystallized ginger. 

    Weighing in at only 140 calories per serving, even pudding for breakfast isn’t out of the question!  Toss a tablespoon of granola and some flax meal on top and you’re ready to go.


    Pumpkin Pudding Ingredients

    • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
    • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
    • 1-14 oz. can of pumpkin puree
    • 1-12oz can evaporated non-fat milk


    1. Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and gloves in a small bowl.
    2. Beat eat eggs in a large bowl.
    3. Stir in the pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture.
    4. Gradually stir in the evaporated milk.
    5. Pour into a shallow oven proof dish and bake for about 40 minutes.
    6. Don’t overbake.  Center should be slightly wiggly.
    7. Cool and enjoy at room temperature or refrigerate for later.

    Recipe courtesy of SuperFoods, Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life.  Serves 6.

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