Pumpkin Pie Smoothie + Why Pumpkin is Super Good for You!

14 Oct

Pumpkin, Please!

Can we talk for a minute about pumpkin?  Everyone’s talking about it this time of year, right?!  But, I don’t mean in the pumpkin spice latte-crazed (although those are yummy!), fall-obsessed, pumpkin “flavored” everything kind of way – I mean in the context of REAL pumpkin and it’s low calorie, high nutrient density profile!  Pumpkin has a lot to offer, and obviously it’s tasty, so it’s understandable why everyone wants a piece of it ( I swear, no pie puns intended! 😉 this time of year.

Beta-Carotene

Pumpkins have beta-carotene to thank for their characteristic, bright orange hue.  Beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A in the body, which then plays a major functional role in keeping our vision crisp and clear, our immune system fortified, and the repair and health of all the body’s cells  healthy (meaning it’s super important for keeping our skin pretty, too!).

Protein & Fiber

Fiber you may have guessed since most plants contain lots of it, but yes, pumpkins contain protein, too!  Good for digestion, good for pumping up those muscles.

Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, & Potassium

Calcium helps keep your bones and teeth healthy, strong, and fracture free.  Iron promotes the building of blood cells that keep oxygen flowing to your cells for energy and optimal functioning.  Muscle and nerve function, as well as over 300 other biochemical reactions in the human body are dependent upon magnesium.  Energy metabolism, bone strength, and bolstering the immune system are just a few others that rely on this mineral.  Potassium isn’t just a banana thing!  Potassium is also found in pumpkins, and keeps the heart healthy, and is especially important in the diet of athletes and active people since it’s lost through perspiration (sweating!).

Vitamin C & E

It hasn’t been proven, but Vitamin C is suspected to be useful in helping to pull through illness more quickly; it’s also essential for wound healing and collagen synthesis.  Vitamin E is also important to help protect the skin from UV damage and free radicals.  Additionally, there is some evidence to suggest it may help prevent prostate and bladder cancer and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

How to Use Pumpkin:

Fresh pumpkin is perfect cubed and thrown into stir fries, casseroles, or soups.  My favorite super simple, tasty way to enjoy it is to cube it, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with your seasoning of choice, then roast it on a sheet pan in the oven!

Stir pumpkin puree it in to oatmeal with a dash of pumpkin pie spice and a splash of cold milk, mix it into quick bread and pancake batters, soups, obviously put it in a pie crust, or blend it up into this pumpkin pie-esque smoothie!  Any way you can add the real stuff (not the flavored syrup!) into your meals, you know you’re doing yourself a favor.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie {Gluten-free, Vegan}

(The awesome thing about smoothies is, you really can’t make a mistake!  Here, you have the option to add in any kind of milk you like, protein powder for a boost (or not, if you’re not feeling it!), and chia seeds, or ground flax for extra nutrition.  I love my smoothies not too sweet, but if you want more sweetness, just up the amount of maple syrup you add a little, or throw in another half banana.  Not exactlyyyyy like pumpkin pie, but you’ll get your fill of the real thing this season, so enjoy the lightened up flavor of pumpkin with this smoothie for awhile!)

Ingredients:

* 1 large banana, frozen

* 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

* 1/4-1/2 cup milk of choice (I used almond)

* 1 Tbsp chia seeds

* 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

* 1-2 Tbsp vanilla rice protein powder (optional)

* 1-2 Tbsp almond butter

* 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg)

* 3-4 cubes of ice (maybe a few more if your banana wasn’t frozen)

Directions:

Throw everything but the ice in a blender and blend on high until smooth.  Add in ice cubes one at a time until blended – unless you have a fancy Vitamix blender (I’m jealous, if you do!), and then you can probably just throw everything in at once and blend, blend, blend!

LooooooooooooooooVvveee!

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2 Responses to “Pumpkin Pie Smoothie + Why Pumpkin is Super Good for You!”

  1. Julia October 15, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    That looks delicious!

    What rice protein powder do you use? I’d like to try more rice protein powders, but the one that I have now is so strong that it is all I can taste if I put more than a teaspoon in anything.

    • Stacy October 16, 2012 at 7:29 am #

      Hi Julia! I use Nutribiotics vegan rice protein powder. Truth be told, it’s a little grainy, and the flavor is strong, but I’ve gotten used to it and actually like it now. The serving size is a heaping Tbsp, but I think I put in more along the lines of 1 Tbsp. It’s optional in the recipe!

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