The health benefits of pumpkins:
Pumpkins are 90% water and low in calories. One cup of canned pumpkin contains about 80 calories and is a low fat food.
Pumpkin is high in carotinoids such as beta carotene. In addition to supplying that distinct pumpkin orange color, Beta carotene is a “provitamin.” The provitamin can be converted in the body to retinol, more commonly known as vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to regulate immune function, cellular differentiation and proliferation, and to improve skin appearance.
This gourd vegetable is also a source of tryptophan- an amino acid that helps with the conversion of serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone that helps with mood regulation and feelings of happiness. Vitamin C and Vitamin B6 found in pumpkin are both needed for this conversion of tryptophan to serotonin to take place.
Lastly, pumpkin is a good source of fiber. Fiber is found in only plant foods and increases fullness, and lowers heart disease and cancer risk. For every 1000 calories eaten, it is optimal to have at least 14 grams of fiber. Pumpkin provides about 37 grams per 1000 calories.
Ways to incorporate more pumpkin in your diet:
1. Mix pumpkin puree into hummus
2. Throw pumpkin seeds into low fat yogurt or granola
3. Make a pumpkin pie smoothie
4. Mix together a pumpkin soup
1. Egg White Grill (290 calories, 30g carbohydrates, 26g protein, 8g fat)
2. Hashbrown Scramble Bowl with Nuggets, No Hashbrowns (320 calories, 7g carbohydrates, 28g protein, 20g fat)
3. English Muffin (140 calories, 29g carbohydrates, 5g protein , 2g fat)
4. Greek Yogurt Parfait (270 calories, 36g carbohydrates, 25g protein, 3g fat)
1. Grilled Nuggets (8 count) (130calories, 1g carbohydrates, 25g protein,3 g fat)
2. Kale Lemon Caeser Salad with Grilled Nuggets (470 calories, 22g carbohydrates, 24g fat, 43g protein)
3. Nugget 5 Piece Kids Meal with Small Fruit Cup & 1% Milk (300 calories, 30g carbohydrates, 9g fat, 24 g protein).
4. Grilled Nugget 5 Piece Kids Meal with Small Fruit Cup & 1% Milk (220 calories, 24g carbohydrates, 4g fat, 23g protein).
5. Grilled Chicken Sandwich (380 calories, 44g carbohydrates, 28g protein, 11g fat).
1. Medium Fruit Cup (60 calories, 15g carbohydrates, 3g fat, 1g protein)
2. Kale Crunch Side Salad (120 calories, 8g carbohydrates, 3g protein, 9g fat)
3. Cup of Chicken Noodle Soup (125 calories, 21g carbohydrates, 9g protein, 3.5g fat).
1. Frosted Lemonade with Diet Lemonade (250 calories, 46g carbohydrates, 6g protein, 6g fat)
2. Medium Fruit Cup (60 calories, 15g carbohydrates, 1g protein, 3g fat)
3. Ice Dream Cone (180 calories, 32g carbohydrates, 4g protein, 4g fat)
1. Water (0 calories, 0 carbohydrates)
2. Diet Lemonade, Small (30 calories, 8g carbohydrates)
3. Unsweetened Iced Tea ( (0 calories, 0g carbohydrates)
4. SunJoy, Small (½ unsweet tea, ½ diet lemonade) (15 calories, 4g carbohydrates)
5. 1% milk (90 calories, 10g carbohydrates, 2g fat, 7g protein)
Less than 1 in 5 Americans are getting enough vegetables and fiber in the diet. The dietary guidelines recommend we eat at least 2-3 cups of vegetables daily. Vegetables contain fiber, a type of carbohydrate that is only found in plant foods. Fiber can help us to feel full for longer periods of time. Eating more fiber in the diet has also been proven to lower risk of comorbidities including cardiovascular disease. Women aged 19-50 should strive to have 25 grams of fiber daily, while men of this age group should strive for 38 grams. The recommended goal once one is over 50 years of age decreases slightly, with research to support the benefit of 21 grams of fiber for women, and 30 grams of fiber for men. Below are 10 ways to include more vegetables (and therefore fiber!) in the diet.
In the morning, most people like a caffeinated “Pick Me Up”- whether it is tea or coffee. As could be expected, it is hard to make any nutrition mistakes with black coffee or unsweetened tea. However, there is much variation in the added calories, sugars, and fat added to these beverages depending on how we place our order. When selecting a coffee or tea, I would advise making sure it is low in saturated fat (<5% on the nutrition facts label), and that there is less than 10g of added sugar. Selecting fat free dairy products like skim milk, as well as milk alternatives such as oat milk or almond milk will help to limit the added saturated fat that could come from whole milk or creamer. Picking unsweetened versions of drinks or using artificial sweetener instead of sugar will help you to avoid exceeding 10g of added sugar in your beverages. Below are some healthier beverage options from Dunkin Donuts.
April 19th is National Garlic Day! I always like to make the joke, “Always add one extra garlic clove than what a recipe calls for.” Garlic is part of the allium family, more commonly referred to as the onion family. You can find this bulb vegetable in its natural habitat in the Mediterranean regions, Middle East, and Central Asia. In addition to adding flavor to the most tasty dishes, garlic is also packed with health benefits.
Ava is a Registered Dietitian with a BS in Nutritional Science from Penn State University. She completed her postgraduate dietetic internship at Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center where she had a critical care concentration. She started her RD career working at a level one trauma center providing Medical Nutrition Therapy to patients in the Greater New York City area. She now resides in South Florida as her hospital's full time outpatient dietitian, overseeing outpatient nutrition for cardiometabolic, bariatric, and hospital medical nutrition therapy.