Pumpkin Time!

August 25, 2020

Pumpkin this and pumpkin that!  ‘Tis the season for all the stores and restaurants to start pushing their favorite pumpkin products.  And why not? Pumpkin is not only tasty, but also full of healthy benefits!

Benefits of pumpkin:

  • Chock full of antioxidants, pumpkin boosts your immune system and may help ward off infection, viruses, and even help lower disease risk.  
  • Packed with fiber and low in calorie, pumpkin slows digestion and helps you to feel fuller for longer, aiding in weight loss.
  • Loaded with beta-carotene, which our bodies convert to vitamin A, pumpkin can help protect eyesight. Vitamin A is essential to eye health, helping the retina to absorb and process light. Pumpkin also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that help in preventing cataracts and slowing macular degeneration.

And while pumpkin has loads of healthy benefits, remember that not all pumpkin treats are created equally. Indulging in 1 pumpkin donut from Dunkin’s means taking in a whopping 380 calories and 22g of fat, while their pumpkin muffin packs 550 calories and 24g of fat! Pair either of those with a medium pumpkin spiced latte, ringing in at 420 calories and 14g of fat and your morning “healthy pumpkin snack” has taken a turn for the worse.  

Instead, why not take 10 minutes and make a batch of your own tasty pumpkin treats that don’t even need cooking?!  Below is a quick recipe for Pumpkin Energy Bites that doesn’t require any baking:

No Bake Pumpkin Energy Bites

1 cup pitted dates (about 10-12 dates or 8oz)

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats

¼ cup toasted pecans or walnuts

¼ cup pumpkin puree

1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

1 Tbsp chia seeds or ground flaxseeds

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp kosher salt

  1. Chop dates in food processor until they form a sticky ball. If dates are dry, soak them in hot water for a few minutes prior to chopping.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients and pulse to combine. Mixture should not be completely smooth. Taste and, if desired for added sweetness, add 1 tsp more maple syrup.
  3. Transfer mixture to a bowl and cover. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and then take a cookie scoop or spoon and scoop mixture into balls, rolling with hand if necessary. Yield: 12 balls.
  4. Place in airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freezer for 2 months.

Nutrition: Serving: (1 ball), Calories: 75, Carbs: 13g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 2g, Sodium: 12mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 25g  

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