Pumpkin Eating Challenge

Usually when we think of pumpkin, it’s all about pies and desserts and carving Jack - O - Lanterns. Pumpkin can be a really tasty (and healthy!) savory ingredient, too … and a fantastic way to sneak more veggies into your diet.

This week’s challenge straight from Cr8 Fitness Healthy, Happy's Facebook group is to experiment with pumpkin. It's a surprisingly healthy choice, packing in lots of taste and nutrition for the number of calories it contains.

Just look at these numbers: One cup of cooked pumpkin contains 49 calories, 12g of carbs, 3g of fiber, 2g of protein, and less than 1 g of fat … and 245% of your vitamin A intake along with other vitamins, minerals!

Good news! You don’t have to buy a whole pumpkin, carve it, and then bake it. Canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) can be an awesome addition to lots of recipes, especially if you or your family don’t love veggies.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • ½ cup pumpkin pureé
  • 1 scoop Beverly Vanilla or Graham Cracker Protein
  • pumpkin spice (for topping)

Mix together all ingredients (except pumpkin spice) until well combined. Place into molds, I used the small silicone muffin pan. Ice cube trays work great too! Sprinkle with pumpkin spice and place in freezer until firm (about 2 hours). Let thaw a couple minutes before enjoying.

I wonder what Angel Food Cake would taste like here.

Pumpkin Bars

  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar

  • ½ cup butter

  • ½ teaspoon cloves

  • 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 2 cups milk

  • 3 eggs

  • 5 scoops UMP Vanilla

  • 2 cups pumpkin

Heat oven to 350. Place butter into a 9×13 pan and let melt in oven while it is preheating. In the meantime mix the oats, flour, and the brown sugar. Pour over the melted butter and press down with a spoon. Bake for 12 minutes. While crust is baking, scald milk and the spices. Stir in the pumpkin and then the eggs followed by the protein powder. Pour this over the crust and bake for another 20 minutes or until the pumpkin filling is firm to the touch.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

  • 1/3 cup pure pumpkin, canned
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (or walnuts, almonds, flax, chia, etc)
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2/3 cup water
  • Ice 

Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth and creamy. Pour immediately into a large cup. Eat with a spoon or a large straw. 

Pumpkin Overnight Oats

  • 1 1/2 cups steel cut oats (do not substitute quick cooking, instant, or rolled oats)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups milk, any kind you like (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal (or swap an equal amount of chia seeds, hemp seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For serving: chopped toasted pecans, dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots, peanut butter, or any other mix-ins you enjoy with pumpkin

Pumpkin Chia Pudding

  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 scoop UMP Vanilla protein powder
  • 2 TB almond butter
  • 1 TB raw honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • Sea Salt, a pinch

Blend all ingredients, except chia seeds, until smooth. Place the blended mixture into a reseal-able large jar (or 2 smaller jars) then add chia seeds. Seal jar and shake.

Place in refrigerator overnight or for at least 3+ hours. Feel free to shake jars once or twice in between to make sure they didn’t become too gelatinous. Breakfast, snack or post workout recovery is served!

Are you in? Do you have any favorite pumpkin recipes? Please share them!

Enjoy Good Food,

Coach Nancy

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