Healthy Pumpkin Recipes Perfect for Fall
It’s become a cultural thing to write off pumpkin-theme food and drink items once they start popping up in shops and stores in early fall (well, more like late summer). And in a world where pumpkin-spiced potato chips are a thing… we get it.
But pumpkin itself is an amazing fruit with a fantastic nutritional profile—don’t sleep on this seasonal offering! It can be mixed into smoothies, baked into muffins, added to your coffee, and more.
A Peek Inside the Pumpkin
Just what makes the pumpkin so special?
- Pumpkin gets its orange color from beta-carotene, which helps the body make Vitamin A and has antioxidant properties of its own. Pumpkin also contains Vitamin A on its own—a whopping 245% recommended daily intake in just one cup.
- Pumpkin is low-calorie (50 calories in 1 cup) and a source of fiber (3 grams in 1 cup).
- Pumpkin is also a great source of potassium with 564 mg per one-cup serving.
- Pumpkin seeds are also nutritional powerhouses—packed with protein, fiber, healthy unsaturated fats, and a suite of minerals (including iron, zinc, and magnesium).
3 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
Ready to give pumpkin another shot? Check out these healthier pumpkin recipes to help get you into the autumn mindset. (And yes—all three contain actual pumpkins.)
Make sure when stocking up on ingredients that you get cans of 100% pureed pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling (the latter contains added sugar). You’ll get the famous fall pumpkin taste by using pumpkin pie spice, found in the spice aisle at the grocery store.
No-Bake Pumpkin Protein Bites
All the deliciousness of an autumnal baked good—without all the calories, sugar, or gluten! These no-bake energy bites make for a great afternoon snack and travel well.
Combine 1 cup peanut butter (or other preferred nut butter), ½ cup maple syrup, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and stir well. Next, we add our dry ingredients: 1 ½ cups rolled oats, ¼ cup chia seeds, ½ dark chocolate chips, and 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice. Stir everything until it starts looking like a dough.
Put the “dough” in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Then, use a cookie dough scooper or spoon to scoop the dough into small bites. Store these balls in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
Mini Pumpkin Protein Pancakes
While pumpkin itself is not high in protein, as an ingredient it plays well with protein powder in this simple pumpkin protein pancake recipe.
Whisk together 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (whey or plant-based works), ½ cup pumpkin puree, ¼ cup egg whites (from about 2-3 eggs), ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, and a pinch of salt. Ensure the mixture is as smooth as possible before adding in an initial 2 tablespoons of milk (we recommend unsweetened almond, but dairy milk is fine). Add additional milk if needed to make the batter workable.
Spray a griddle or pan with cooking spray and use a spoon to add approximately 1 ½ tablespoons of pancake batter to medium-low heat. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Top with preferred pancake toppings and enjoy!
Sugar-Free Pumpkin Spice Cream Cold Brew
Just because the leaves are falling does not mean that we need to let go of our cold brew! A pumpkin spice creamer can be a way to add a little seasonal flavor to your morning routine without all of the sugar and calories of a classic pumpkin spice latte.
Start with your favorite coffee cold brew (homemade or store-bought). To make the creamer, mix 1 cup of heavy whipping cream OR half and half, 3-4 tablespoons pureed pumpkin, 1-2 tablespoons zero-calorie sweetener of your choice, 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Blend thoroughly and pour over cold brew.
Of course, this pumpkin-spiced creamer can be used in both cold and hot coffee—though you may see some (normal) curdling with hot coffee. You can also store the creamer in an airtight container in the fridge for about 5 days.