When fall rolls around, I can’t seem to steer my mind away from all-things pumpkin. Just this week I was busy at work in the kitchen, dreaming up new pumpkin recipes to share with family and friends. While most assume that pumpkin is high in calories because it’s most often found in pumpkin pie, pumpkin seeds and fruit are actually incredibly healthy and often overlooked as an important source of vitamins and minerals. Here we take a look at the abundance of health benefits this fall fruit provides, as well as methods for preparing it with five delicious and healthy recipes.
Health benefits: Both pumpkin seeds and fruit are two super foods that you don’t want to miss out on this fall. Pumpkins are loaded with good-for-for you vitamins and nutrients, including vitamins A, C and E, which promote healthy, glowing skin among other important health benefits. They’re also high in fiber, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, and lutein, which can improve eye health. In addition, pumpkins contain plenty of beta carotene, which have anti-inflammatory properties; and antioxidants, which fight free radicals in the body and help prevent cancer.
Other surprising health benefits? Pumpkins can promote better bone density and digestion and even lower cholesterol. They’ve also been found to help prevent prostate cancer, kidney stones and even depression.
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Whoever said you couldn’t play with your food likely never really knew the joy of eating. We certainly aren’t suggesting tossing handfuls of spaghetti across the table at your annoying little brother, but we do think that the fall season is perfect for a little crafting-meets-snacking.
Some of our favorite seasonal treats are perfect for gathering ’round the family, getting plenty messy, sharing lots of giggles, all while making something yummy to enjoy as we gear up for Halloween. Fun and delicious treats don’t have to be sugar bombs. These homemade treats are healthful and fun to eat, too!
Ready to dig in?
BROWN PAPER BAG POPCORN
Forget the microwave popcorn you think you know. With nothing more than a brown paper sack, whole popcorn kernels, and a microwave, you’ll have light and airy popcorn in minutes without the chemicals, calories, and sodium.
The kids will love helping you make this, whether it’s movie night or a Halloween party. Make the popcorn something special with our Cinnamon Raisin Popcorn treat, which is simply brown bag popcorn, cinnamon, and raisins.
To share with friends or handout at a school party, let the kids make Hand-O-Lanterns to decorate each brown paper sack. Just paint their palms orange, their fingers green, and press on to the bags. When the paint dries they can use black markers to draw pumpkin faces!
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Fall is a great time to cleanse, detoxify, and reorganize your health priorities in preparation for a long, cold winter. Sometimes breaking out of a routine is the best way to realign our intentions and deepen our commitment to wellness.
If you think a little change in scenery is what you need to give yourself that gentle kick in the butt to reboot your booty, check out the following yoga retreats. Everyone I know who comes back from a yoga retreat is more than refreshed and ready to take on whatever challenges life brings. Maybe it is time you take a much-needed break, reinvent your mind-body fitness strategy, and come home with a fresh perspective on life.
Not sure where to go? We’ve found a few locations that will satisfy your fun-filled yoga needs or more luxurious yoga dreams.
With locations in Mexico and Costa Rica, Via Yoga offers yoga and Pilates retreats combined with surfing, snorkeling, whale watching, and margarita drinking. Love yoga, your workouts, and the pleasure of eating good food with great folks? Visit ViaYoga.com and check out the great offerings and specials for a fun-filled and adventurous retreat.
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By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America
Fall is not fall without caramel apples. At least to me. Crisp tart apples and sticky sweet caramel. Yum!
As a child, October meant caramel apples. We would travel to the farmers market to pick out the perfect caramel apple for the ride home. This much-anticipated treat was homemade by the farmer’s wife, with a fresh apple picked from the tree and dipped in a simple caramel sauce, made from sugar, heavy cream and sometimes butter. Then, as Halloween neared, my mother would come home with a big bag of apples and get to work on her own caramel apples for the family.
What was once the simplest and purest treat has turned into the simplest, fastest pre-packaged (and full of scary stuff) treat. Walk down the apple aisle of any grocery store this month and you will find “caramel apple wrappers” and packaged “old fashioned caramel dip.” Although convenience has its place in today’s hustle and bustle world, I wonder if you have ever read the ingredients in that easy-to-grab dip?
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It finally felt like fall this weekend. I hope it did where you are, too! I spotted patches of red and orange in otherwise bright green trees. We lit a fire inside and even needed hoodies to go outside. For the first time since the official first day of fall, it felt crunchy. That’s my word to describe fall – crunchy. Which is appropriate, because one of my favorite fall snacks is popcorn.
My other favorite fall flavor is cinnamon. I don’t care if it’s on a cinnamon roll, toast, oatmeal, cookies, applesauce, topping my yogurt, or wafting from a candle, my nose simply cannot get enough of this scent. So on a recent trip to the McCormick spice headquarters, as part of the Fitbloggin’ conference, outside of Baltimore, Maryland, I found myself in cinnamon-loving heaven.
We went through some of their consumer research experiments, one of which had us tasting traditional ground cinnamon next to Saigon cinnamon. I would have said cinnamon is cinnamon before that afternoon. But the ground cinnamon that I add to French toast every Saturday morning suddenly tasted like red hots candies compared to the earthy, warm, woodsy flavor that came from the McCormick Saigon cinnamon. I fell in love with cinnamon all over again.
As soon as I returned home, making something with that cinnamon was all I could think about. With the fall season in full swing, and McCormick encouraging us to freshen up one of our recipes, the only logical choice was marrying cinnamon and popcorn. Maybe some raisins, too. Cinnamon Raisin Popcorn sounds like a pretty incredible fall snack, doesn’t it?
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