The following article was written by Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek RD, LD.
It’s that time of year—time to indulge in all things pumpkin. So far, I’ve come across pumpkin muffins, cookies, cereal, ice cream and the eagerly anticipated pumpkin spice latte!
The one thing these foods all have in common, is sugar. But there’s no reason you can’t enjoy the flavors of fall in a healthier way. I’ll show you how with these Fx™-approved pumpkin products available at your local Heinen’s.
But first, let’s talk about the nutritional goodness of pumpkin.
The Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Pumpkins are so much more than decorative adornments for your porch. Hidden inside of this bright orange squash is a treasure trove of nutrition.
Brimming with beta carotene—a precursor to vitamin A—pumpkins are great for maintaining the health of your skin and eyes. The benefits for vision don’t stop there, as pumpkin also contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which help support the prevention of cataracts as you age.
Potassium and magnesium are essential minerals for cardiovascular health, and pumpkin is a good source of each. As a plant-based source of iron, pumpkin can help you make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to all parts of your body.
Fx™-Approved Pumpkin Products at Heinen’s
Heinen’s 100% Pure Canned Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!)
Canned pumpkin is cooked pumpkin minus the seeds and shell. Known as pulp, one cup of this pantry staple can get you a quarter of the way to the 25–35-gram daily recommendation for dietary fiber.
Here are five of my favorite low-sugar recipe ideas that call for canned pumpkin:
- Fill your house with sweet autumn aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves when you bake a loaf of this deliciously moist Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread.
- Enjoy this satisfying 5-minute Pumpkin Patch Smoothie for breakfast or lunch.
- Trade in that super sweet pumpkin spice latte (38 grams of sugar in a small) for this simple homemade Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte with a mere 4 grams of sugar.
- This Pumpkin Chia Seed Pudding is the perfect make-ahead breakfast for busy mornings. Make a big batch for the entire week!
- For a creamy dreamy treat, stir a quarter cup of canned pumpkin into Siggi’s vanilla plant-based coconut yogurt and top with a dash of cinnamon
Qi’a Cinnamon Pumpkin Seed Oatmeal
Nature’s Path Qi’a takes oatmeal to the next level by combining cinnamon, pumpkin seeds and omega-3-rich chia and hemp seeds in their single serving oatmeal packs. You don’t have to worry about sugar because they add none. To sweeten it up, I like to mix in half of a chopped apple (skin on) and a spoonful of Heinen’s canned pumpkin for extra fiber and vitamin A!
Melissa’s Pumpkin Seed Clean Snax with Chia & Flax
Halfway between chips and a granola bar, Melissa’s Pumpkin Seed Clean Snax is the perfect gluten-free, low sugar treat to have on-hand when you’re in the mood for a little taste of fall. Your cravings for sweet and salt will be satisfied with only 3 grams of added sugar and just a touch of sea salt per serving. Enjoy them right out of the container or add to yogurt or oatmeal for some serious crunch!
Get your pumpkin fix this fall without sugar or guilt, while honoring your Fx™—food as medicine—commitment. The pulp and seeds of autumn’s most beloved gourd can help you reap the benefits of essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Nature is so sweet!