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Fall time Favorite Food

Boo! Did I scare you? 

The summer coming to an end is quite frightening, but look at the bright side, it’s never too early for pumpkins? 

Stop using your Jack-o’-lantern as just decor and dig deep into its powerful nutritional value. Dig being the operative word because we are here to discuss the power of the Pumpkin Seeds. 

Let me seed an idea in your head; protein and fiber are good for you! I doubt I need hypnosis to get you to believe this, but I might need it to convince you that we can get protein and fiber from pumpkin seeds.

That’s right, 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds is packed with about 8g of protein 6g of fiber and 7g of unsaturated fat.

If you were to eat half a cup of seeds providing 16g of protein and 12g of fiber, it would contribute to about 31-48% of a male and female’s daily needs of fiber and 29-35% of a male and female’s daily protein needs respectively. Most Americans struggle to hit their fiber needs and yet fiber can help with digestive issues, weight management and cholesterol. In terms of protein, the ability to get at a minimum 1/3 of your protein needs from a single intake of a plant is a great way to both increase the amount of plant based foods in your diet and decrease inflammation. 

Pumpkin seeds continue to make a strong case when you consider they are high in omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants. When we boil it all down, decreasing inflammation is preventative medicine at its core. So what better way to achieve this than trying a tasty new treat. 

One aspect of pumpkin seeds to pay attention to,

or any seed for this matter, is its high caloric value. If you are watching your daily caloric intake in order to manage your weight, it is worth noting that 1/4 cup has about 180 calories. While portioned out servings of powerful pumpkin seeds can likely aid in weight loss, mindless handfuls can contribute to an excess amount of calories and lead to weight gain. So like most other foods, be mindful of your portion sizes. 

Before you toss this year’s adorable Autumn acquisition away, make sure to scoop out the seeds and save the nutrients from the garbage. 

Try this recipe with store bought or freshly scooped pumpkin seeds:

Vegetarian Harvest Grain Bowl 

Ingredients:

Pumpkin Dressing: 

Directions

Add 1/2 cup of rinsed quinoa to 1 1/2 cups of water in a pot and boil. When most of the liquid is gone, cover pot and cook on low heat while stirring every few minutes for 20-25 minutes.

Dice 1/2 sweet potato, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of salt. Bake at 425 for 40 minutes.

In a blender add 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp pumpkin purée, 1 tsp basil, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 garlic clove minced, 1 tsp water and 1 tsp maple syrup. Blend and set aside 

On a frying pan, cook pumpkin seeds in 1 tbsp olive oil for 15 min stirring frequently

In a large bowl add 3 cups of washed swiss chard, 1/2 apple diced, 1/4 cup dried cranberries. Add the cooked pumpkin seeds. Add the baked sweet potato. Top with dressing and enjoy!

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