Not just for decoration: Enjoy the health benefits of eating pumpkin

  • 1 Minute Read
Brenda Braslow
Brenda Braslow, MS, RDN, LDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

The benefits of eating pumpkin go far beyond the satisfaction of creamy pumpkin pie. Packed with vitamins and minerals, a half cup of boiled pumpkin contains only 22 calories! Whether you use fresh or canned, fall is the perfect season for cooking with pumpkin.

Benefits of eating pumpkin

What are the health benefits of eating pumpkin?

How can eating pumpkin benefit weight loss?

Due to its high water content, pumpkin is low in calories relative to its weight. Research shows that choosing foods with low energy density can help support weight loss by helping you feel fuller on fewer calories. Pumpkin's fiber content (3 grams per one cup, boiled) can also help you feel more full.

How to bake a pumpkin

The taste and texture of typical jack-o-lantern pumpkins make them less appealing for eating. For a sweeter flavor and firmer texture, choose a smaller "pie pumpkin" or "sweet pumpkin."

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Wash the outside of the pumpkin to remove dirt, scrubbing around the stem area with a vegetable brush or cloth.
  3. On a cutting board, hold the pumpkin firmly with one hand while inserting the tip of a sharp knife at a 45-degree angle and cut around the stem. When loosened, pull off the stem.
  4. Carefully cut the pumpkin in half vertically using a large, sharp knife.
  5. Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp. Set the seeds aside to wash in a sieve and save for roasting, if desired.
  6. Place each pumpkin half cut side down on an edged baking sheet. Add 1/4-inch of water to the bottom of the pan to keep the pumpkin moist.
  7. Bake for about one hour (depends on pumpkin size) until tender. Pierce with a fork to test tenderness.
  8. Remove pumpkin from oven and let cool.
  9. After it's cooled, scoop out the pumpkin pulp from the shell.
  10. Extra pulp freezes well in airtight containers or freezer bags.

Make the most of your pumpkin with these recipes

From MyNetDiary's Premium Recipe Collection:

These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies are not-too-sweet treats that keep well in the freezer.

This Pumpkin Spice Latte is a cozy treat-under five grams of carb per serving.

Keep Energy Trail Mix (with Pumpkin Seeds) on hand for a quick afternoon snack.

For an alternative autumn snack, try Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, by Simply Recipes.

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Contributions by Sue Heikkinen MS, RDN, CDCES and Martha Henze, MPH, MS, RDN

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Foods & Recipes->Fruit & Vegetables Holidays / Parties->Halloween Nutrients->Vitamin A & beta-carotene
Sep 26, 2022
Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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