By Meghann McMillan
Can’t seem to get enough of any sort of pumpkin spiced drink that’s out there during the season? Ditch the high calorie drinks loaded with sugary pumpkin syrups and artificial colors and flavors for something more natural and chuck full of vitamins and minerals. Spice up your day with a homemade pumpkin spice smoothie! Pumpkin is loaded with anti-oxidants and vitamins A, C and E. One serving of pumpkin gives your body more than 250% of your RDA for vitamin A! Pumpkin is also a good source of B vitamins and is rich in minerals such as potassium and calcium. Combine that with the ingredients below and you’ll have a nutrient dense, low calorie delicious treat to give you a boost during the fall season.
Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
- ½ can of pumpkin puree
- ½ frozen banana
- 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- Pinch of ginger
- 1 cup vanilla almond milk
- 3 ice cubes
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until contents are combined and smooth.
- Add more Almond Milk as needed to think smoothie to your liking. Best enjoyed in the fall!
If one of your Halloween season activities includes picking and carving pumpkins, try turning it into a nutritious and delicious activity to add to the fun. Instead of tossing the “guts” of the pumpkin as you scoop them out to carve, put them aside and roast the seeds. Pumpkin seeds are just as nutrient dense as the flesh. Pumpkin seeds are packed with antioxidants, especially tryptophan. Pumpkin seeds contain heart healthy mono-unsaturated fats. They are loaded with fiber and protein and provide our bodies with tons of iron and zinc. To roast pumpkin seeds, preheat your oven to 170 degrees F. Spread the seeds on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt (you could also toss in olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary, cayenne….whatever flavors are your favorite!). Once in the oven, let the seeds roast for 15 - 20 minutes. Enjoy these crispy treats on salad, in a snack mix, in your oatmeal or by the handful!
With all the fall and Halloween festivities comes the Halloween parties. Halloween parties may mean the over consumption of many different sugary treats. This year, forget about bringing the traditional sugar laden candies and make your own sweet treats….without all the refined sugar! Check out this honey sweetened dairy free delights that are brimming with antioxidants and heart healthy ingredients.
Fall Dark Chocolate Treats
- 1 cup coconut butter
- 1 cup raw cacao powder OR 1 cup 100% Dark chocolate chips/bar chunks
- ½ cup honey (raw is my favorite!)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch sea salt
- 1/3 cup toasted almonds
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- Melt coconut butter in a nonstick pot over a stove top on medium heat. Make sure not to burn by stirring.
- Once melted, stir in dark chocolate until smooth and combined.
- Next add honey, vanilla and sea salt. Continue to stir until contents are combined and smooth.
- Lastly, add the almonds and cranberries. Take off of heat.
- On a parchment lined cookie sheet, drop spoon fulls of chocolate clusters. Let stand until hardened or store in the refrigerator until solid and ready to eat.
With these Halloween ticks, you will certainly be in for a treat this fall season, adding a little health to your fun. Enjoy and be safe!