This fall favorite may be better known for making Jack O’ Lanterns, but pumpkin tastes darn good in a lot of healthy fare, too.
But making something like your own pumpkin puree takes time and effort. You can purchase 100% pure pumpkin puree at your local grocery store (Libby’s is one of the more popular brands, and pumpkin is the only ingredient.) This is different from the pumpkin pie filling, which is brimming with sugar—so forgo those cans.
Pumpkins are a type of squash and oddly related to watermelon and cucumbers. They are low in calories, fat, and carbs—and packed with flavor and fiber.
A half cup of pumpkin puree contains 50 calories, 0.5g of total fat, 10g of carbohydrates, and 3g of fiber. It also has a bit of protein and twice the daily recommended amount of the antioxidant vitamin A. This orange-hued fruit—yes, it’s a fruit—also contains the antioxidant lutein, thought to help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (a loss of vision as you age.) Lutein has also been linked with heart health, helping to prevent plaque buildup in the arteries.
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