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Pumpkin Offers More Than Traditional Pumpkin Spice In the Fall

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

By Trisha Gedon


The air is starting to feel crisp now that the fall season is underway. As we move into the holidays, pumpkins can have the spotlight.

Pumpkins can be so much more than jack-o-lanterns for Halloween or a flavoring in a latte. The seeds can be roasted for a tasty snack, and the meat of the pumpkin can be used for pumpkin pies and other delicious vitamin-packed treats.

Pumpkins are a great source of vitamins, said Candy Gabel, associate state Extension specialist with Oklahoma State University Extension and statewide coordinator of the Community Nutrition Education Program.

“Just 1 cup of pumpkin contains 245% of the Reference Daily Intake of vitamin A,” Gabel said. “In addition, pumpkin contains vitamin C, vitamin B2 and vitamin E, as well as minerals such as potassium, copper, manganese and iron. It also is very high in beta-carotene, a carotenoid that our body turns into vitamin A.”

There are many ways to add this fall favorite into a healthy diet. Add pumpkin to your favorite smoothie recipe or stir a spoonful or two of pumpkin puree into a steaming bowl of oatmeal for a great-tasting breakfast. Top the oatmeal with some cinnamon and toasted almonds for even more flavor. Whip up this 30-minute pumpkin soup for a warm and tasty meal. For those who are adventurous in the kitchen, add pumpkin to your favorite chili recipe.


“You can easily transform a common dish into something spectacular,” she said. “Get your kids involved in the kitchen by trying some low-sugar options of pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin donuts and pumpkin pancakes. Kids love to help in the kitchen and will be excited to try these tasty treats.”

For many families, tradition runs deep when it comes to favorite holiday foods. You still can stick with your family favorites but try surprising your family with a new side dish this year. Consider a new super-food salad such as roasted pumpkin and quinoa. Another option would be this tasty creamy maple bacon pumpkin risotto.

Of course, dessert always is the part of the meal everyone looks forward to, and this pumpkin cheese pie is a great option for cheesecake lovers. It has less fat than a traditional cheesecake, but it packs a punch of flavor everyone is sure to enjoy.

“While pumpkins do have their traditional role in this fall holiday season, think outside of the box this year and add some exciting new flavors to your dinner table,” Gabel said.

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