Emily Fonnesbeck is the Registered Dietitian for the Biggest Loser Resort.
I love pureed pumpkin. It is such a tasty way to sneak in a vegetable and it just screams fall. It is loaded with vitamin A, fiber, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, and antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which contribute to health of the eyes. At just 40 calories for 1/2 cup, pumpkin is a very nutrient dense food. Here are a few ways I like to use it:
Pumpkin Yogurt: Mix plain non-fat Greek yogurt with pumpkin (I usually do equal amounts or slightly more yogurt) and season with vanilla and cinnamon. This can be used as a dip or as a base for breakfast with the addition of fruit, oats, cereal, and/or flaxseed.
Smoothies: Add a spoonful (or more if you’re daring!) to your regular smoothies. I recommend pumpkin, almond milk, banana, milled flax seed, cinnamon, vanilla and a scoop of almond butter. Blend together and enjoy a nice refreshing drink!
Oatmeal: Cooking oatmeal like usual (with almond milk, vanilla and milled flax seed), I add pumpkin and cinnamon as well. Top with fruit – pears and apples being my favorite- and walnuts.
Sandwiches: Try spreading pumpkin and almond butter on bread to make a sandwich. Amazing! Don’t knock it until you try it.
Soups: Take any favorite soup or chili recipe and add 1/2 – 1 cup pumpkin. It will give a mild pumpkin flavor while increasing the nutritional profile and volume (and decreasing calories per serving!).
Baked Goods: Try using pumpkin in place of butter or oil in recipes. I do this with waffles, pancakes, muffins and cakes. It is a great way to cut calories while making a nice seasonal treat.
Try these pumpkin recipes:
Pumpkin Walnut Snack Muffins, Devin Alexander for Biggest Loser
Frosty Pumpkin Smoothie, Cheryl Forberg for Biggest Loser
Pumpkin Pancakes, Elizabeth Ward