Q & A with registered dietitian, Chandler Ray
Are you one of the first in line to get your pumpkin spice latte every year when they roll out for Fall? Yes, they may be delicious, but will your body thank you after drinking it? Most likely not. You may hate to hear it, but there is zero amount of real pumpkin in your lattes. This isn’t just true with the lattes you’re drinking either. Most other seasonal pumpkin flavored treats we like to indulge in during this time of year, don’t either. The reality is that it is mostly all sugar, so there’s very little nutritional benefits. On average, a medium pumpkin latte has 50g of sugar… dear gourd! However, adding pumpkin into your diet isn’t a bad thing at all, if it is actually real pumpkin puree.
We interviewed registered dietitian, Chandler Ray from our team on the benefits of pumpkin and how we can add it in our daily meal plans. She may have even told us her favorite pumpkin recipe too!
What are the nutritional benefits of adding pumpkin into your diet?
Pumpkins are nutrient-dense and packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are particularly high in beta-carotene, a carotenoid and antioxidant that helps protect our cells from free radical damage. Beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A in the body, which plays a key role in skin, vision, immune system, and bone health. They are also a great source of dietary fiber, which helps you feel fuller for longer, promotes healthy digestion, and can help lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
What are some easy ways of adding pumpkin into your daily meal plan that we can all do?
You can stir pumpkin into plain yogurt or mix it into oatmeal. You can even roast pumpkin in the oven with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg, great for a sweet tooth too! It is also so easy to simply add it to a smoothie and blend.
What is your favorite way to add pumpkin into your diet?
I love adding pumpkin to overnight oats when I’m taking breakfast on the go! To make 1 serving combine ½ cup rolled oats, ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk (or other plant-based milk), ½ cup pure pumpkin puree, a dash of cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Mix all the ingredients together in a mason jar or sealable container and store in the refrigerator overnight covered. In the morning, I’ll usually top it with a drizzle of almond butter and some fresh fruit.
If you can’t let go of that PSL, check out this delicious and healthy alternative from POPSUGAR fitness. What are some of your favorite healthy alternatives to add pumpkin into a meal? We would love to hear- comment below!