Pumpkin Recipes For The First Day of Fall

Pumpkin Recipes For The First Day of Fall

You may now proceed to drink your Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Just kidding, we need to have a quick conversation first. I know the PSL came out early (as usual) this year but I have refused to even think about Fall foods until today. While I’m not spending the day baking, I did round up a number of healthy pumpkin recipes we plan to dig into this Fall.

Happy First Day of Fall!

It’s Okay To Get On The Pumpkin Recipes Bandwagon

There, I said it. I never thought that would come out of my mouth. Truth be told, I’m not a pumpkin fan. A few weeks ago @OneUponAPumpkin shared this graphic on Instagram highlighting the benefits of pumpkin in your diet.

To break down the nutrition benefits she shared…pumpkin has:

  • Pumpkin has anti-oxidant content that helps protect from disease
  • High in vitamin C
  • Also high in potassium
  • AND high in vitamin A

Since I typically don’t just trust a single instagram post (you shouldn’t either). I dug into things further. It turns out, we really do need more pumpkin in our lives.

One cup of pumpkin not only is high in the nutrients above but also has:

  • 3 grams of fiber
  • 11% of your recommended daily B12 intake
  • 8% of your recommended daily iron intake
  • 2 grams of protein

Do you see now why I feel like I need to add more pumpkin into my life?

Healthy Pumpkin Recipes

Watch The Sugar When You Bake With Pumpkin

Now, I don’t expect you to eat a full cup of cooked pumpkin every day. However, something like pumpkin muffins can be a good source of vitamins and nutrients if baked properly.

Many pumpkin recipes I have come across are extremely high in sugar. This is where I caution the pumpkin baking.I’m sure by now you’ve seen memes or images shared around social media about the amount of sugar in a pumpkin spice latte. (Not to mention, a pumpkin spice latte doesn’t ACTUALLY contain pumpkin) Unfortunately that seems to be the case for most pumpkin recipes I come across most days.

The key to cooking with pumpkin is making sure you have REAL pumpkin to use in the recipe. Pumpkin purée is a good way to start. However, if your pumpkin purée is from a can, just make sure nothing has been added to preserve it. You can also make your own pumpkin purée at home.

Healthier Pumpkin Recipes

In order to help get more pumpkin into your diet this Fall, I rounded up a few pumpkin recipes that are made from pumpkin puree and do not have added sugar. I may even try to work my way through a few of these this Fall. As someone who doesn’t necessarily love pumpkin, these actually all sound delicious!

Do you have a go to pumpkin recipe? Where should I start?

How To Make A Green Smoothie (That Actually Tastes Good)

How To Make A Green Smoothie (That Actually Tastes Good)

For the last 6 years, smoothies have become a staple in our household. It isn’t normal if you don’t hear the blender going as everyone is getting ready to get out the door. However, over the years I’ve had to cater our smoothies to different tastes (picky), diets (low fructose) and need (filling).

One thing I noticed is that my personal green smoothie tastes were changing throughout the year. In the Summer I prefer a more tropical smoothie (vanilla with pineapple, peach, mango, etc) but in the Winter I like going down the chocolate strawberry route.

Throughout many years of testing and trying I’ve come to find that everyone just has their own preference when it comes to smoothies. So instead of sharing with you my perfect smoothie recipe, I built out a guide of all of our different ingredients for making green smoothies.

Why are there so many ingredients?

A common misconception about smoothies is that all smoothies are healthy. Wrong. Many smoothies from restaurants and fast food places (hi, dairy queen) are made with ice cream, sugar filled yogurt and flavored syrups that are basically high fructose corn syrup. In our house, most of that stuff doesn’t fly with anyone’s digestive systems.

However, green smoothies can be healthy, delicious AND filling by including the right ingredients. Let’s break down each category.

How to Make A Green Smoothie

Fruits

The cornerstone of a smoothie. No smoothie is complete without a fruit but be careful how much you add into your smoothie. We keep it to about 1 cup of fruit at the most since fruit is good but also fairly high in sugar.

Fats

I love talking to new smoothie makers about this category of smoothie ingredients. It is actually fairly important usually the most skipped category. Not only are they packed with some good vitamins and minerals, (good) fats will help fill you up and keep you full longer. If you’re going to make a smoothie for breakfast, this is key to staying full until the next meal!

Protein

Another important ingredient when it comes to staying full is protein. Not only will it help keep you full but protein is an important part of building up bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Protein powder is usually the easiest way to get it in, we love Garden of Life as its high in protein and not filled with sugar like some we’ve tried in the past!

Greens

Parents take note, this is BY FAR the easiest way to sneak spinach into your child’s diet. For a long time my kids thought it was AWESOME that their smoothies turned green. The hulk is green so it must be a good thing. Load up all of the vitamins with your favorite greens as you usually can’t taste them!

Liquids

There’s nothing I play around with more in smoothies than liquids. We’ve tried all different kinds of milk, water, yogurt, etc. Truthfully, it comes down to personal taste. My family prefers heavy on the yogurt while I prefer heavy on the almond milk. There is no wrong way to do this category.

Add-Ins

Here’s where the magic happens. This list could go on for pages and pages. There are so many other things you can mix into your smoothies. To me it all depends on the need. Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, high in fatty acids and stocked with fiber. Flax seed can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Cocoa can help mood and lessen depression symptoms.

The. list. goes. on.

What are your favorite smoothie ingredients? I can’t wait to hear about them below!

 

Why Should I Eat Kale? Health Benefits & Recipes For The Plant With The Worst Reputation

Why Should I Eat Kale? Health Benefits & Recipes For The Plant With The Worst Reputation

Of all plants, kale somehow has developed the worst reputation. Chances are you’ve seen a meme about kale and how someone hopes it is not the way to solve their problem. While it has a bad reputation, kale is actually a plant you should consider adding into your weekly produce selection. It has a number of benefits and is actually pretty delicious if you learn to cook it the right way!

Why Kale?

Here’s the thing, Kale is a superfood and it has super powers. Okay not really super powers but it is packed full of vitamins, minerals and all of the good things we need to be consuming on a daily basis.

Let’s take a look at one cup of raw Kale (thanks to WebMD for the facts):

Calories: 33

Protein: 3g

Fiber: 2.5g

Vitamins: A, C, and K

Additional Nutrients: Folate, Alpha-linolenic Acid, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin

Minerals: Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, and Zinc

What does all of this mean?

Let’s start with the Fiber. On average women under 50 should be getting 25g of fiber a day. Yet, the average American diet falls significantly short of that number (track your fiber intake for a day, I promise you’ll be surprised). One of fiber’s most important jobs is to help manage your blood sugar levels. Fiber is also is a huge factor in helping you feel full after a meal. Adding just one cup of Kale to a smoothie in the morning (or salad at lunch) can help propel you much closer to that goal.

Protein is another hot topic in diet trends (btw, I hate diet trends) these days. While everyone is different in the amount of protein they eat in a day not a lot of leafy greens are high in protein as well as vitamin and minerals. Kale’s looking pretty good right about now, isn’t it?

Why Should I Eat Kale?

I think vitamins, minerals and nutrients tend to speak for themselves when you look at what is in them. Everyone loves an excuse to eat more vitamins and your body can be much happier when it’s loaded up on the best nutrients. The nutrients found in kale can help with brain development, protecting against macular degeneration and cataracts…you know the basic things in life.

Kale Recipes

As much as everyone seems to despise kale, a lot can come from how you prepare it. For awhile, I ONLY used it in a smoothie because I couldn’t handle the taste. Eventually I took to Pinterest and realized there is a whole world of kale recipes out there. Do you know how delicious kale is in a salad with the right dressing?

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Next time you find yourself staring at the produce section of a grocery store (or Instacart order), branch out from the normal lettuce and add in a bunch of kale.  If you are like me and not too sure about it… start by just putting it a smoothie.

Kale comes with too many benefits to live out its life as a meme.

Are you pro kale? What is your go to way of cooking it?