If you’re like many of us, this time of year brings on a passion for pumpkin. Part nostalgia, part fad, the craze for pumpkin just seems to grow every year. But instead of buying a processed food — which may or may not have real pumpkin as an ingredient — why not try to create your own seasonal treat at home? Then you can make sure that the ingredients and portion sizes are nutritious and healthy.
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Here are six pumpkin recipes sure to get you in the autumn mood — and nurture your body at the same time.
Pumpkin Spice Muffins
Special occasions and holidays sometimes call for a baked treat and pumpkin is always a hit. These muffins are not only moist and delicious, but they also are significantly lower in calories, saturated fat and sugar than their traditional counterparts.
7 Super Seasonings for Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
If you’re carving a pumpkin, why throw away those seeds? With just a few simple herbs, spices and other seasonings, you can have a nutritious nosh for the whole family in nearly no time. Pumpkin seeds are high in fiber and the mineral zinc.
Guiltless Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites
These bite-size delectables offer the rich flavor of cream cheese and ricotta cheese, both of which are low-fat. Along for the ride is cinnamon and pumpkin flavors so welcome at this time of year. These nuggets are small, but satisfying — and the pumpkin puree offers nutritional benefits, too.
Low-Sugar Pumpkin Mousse Parfait
We’ve lightened up the classic mousse recipe by using reduced-fat cream cheese, skim milk and reduced-fat whipped topping instead of full-fat heavy cream, whipping cream butter and eggs. The ginger snap garnish gives this elegant dessert a bit of crunch.
Pumpkin Lentil Soup
The fall and winter brings cooler air, which often means warmer meals for dinner like soup or stew. This recipe is a great choice if you’re looking for a delicious Meatless Monday dinner. The lentils provide slow digesting carbohydrate, protein, and are high in fiber, so this soup will keep you satisfied for hours. The soluble fiber in lentils can help lower cholesterol, too.
Oatmeal and Pumpkin Spice Cookies
Nothing says home better than oatmeal cookies, and adding pumpkin and spice to the mix makes them the ultimate comfort treat. Add your favorite dried fruits or chopped nuts to this one-bowl recipe, or change the spice to ginger or cinnamon. Either way, this , reduced- fat and sugar recipe can help you stay within your healthy eating goals.