Variety Keeps Things Interesting!

11 11 2014

I love this time of year! The leaves are falling and the weather is getting cooler. Fall sports are coming to an end for my kids, Cathy head shotand I just might have a little extra time to spend in my kitchen creating something new that will make my house smell amazing! With the change of seasons comes a change in seasonal foods and a change in the recipes and methods of cooking that I like to use. I find when trying to maintain a healthy diet, it is very easy for people to get in a rut. They choose the same foods or beverages day after day and become bored with their “healthy” routine. There is nothing like boredom and monotony to send us searching for something new. Unfortunately, it often sends us looking for the unhealthy options we have been trying to steer clear from all along. I feel it is important to have variety in your diet. The more interesting and tasty foods we include, the less likely we are to become bored with what we are eating and revert back to old habits.

This time of year I find I like to do a lot more crock pot cooking as well as baking. Something about the smell of soup cooking, or the scent of fall spices wafting through the house just makes me feel all warm and cozy. I admit to you that I am a recipe hoarder. I love to search through recipes on line, and adore paging though cookbooks and magazines for new creations. Fall is a time that I like to look for recipes incorporating seasonal foods such as pumpkin, winter squash, apples, and sweet potatoes. These foods are highly nutritious and have unique flavors that just scream FALL!

I am always trying to include nutrient rich foods in my dishes to give them a nutritional boost and great flavor without adding a lot of calories. Pumpkin is something that certainly fits that bill. For a mere 80 calories, one cup of pure pureed pumpkin contains about 18 grams of carbohydrate, 4 grams of protein, no fat, and 6 grams of fiber. Pumpkin is a very good source of beta carotene/vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium and is also high in water content (pumpkins are 90% water!). It has a mild flavor and smooth texture which makes it a very versatile ingredient. There are thousands of pumpkin recipes out there, but make sure they actually contain real pumpkin and not just pumpkin pie spice or pumpkin pie filling. The spice obviously does not give you the benefits of real pumpkin (but will add wonderful flavor to your dishes!), and the filling will give you 11 teaspoons of added sugar per cup. Stick with the real thing!Pumpkin

So add some variety to your healthy eating plan today by trying these great pumpkin recipes:

Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/black-bean–n–pumpkin-chili

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Pancakes: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=406208

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie: http://www.snack-girl.com/snack/pumpkin-pie-smoothie/

Enjoy! Let us know some of your favorite healthy pumpkin recipes!

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