This week's post come from Environmental Intern Erendira Garcia. Today she shares her thoughts about pumpkin. It is that lovely time of year again where the leaves are turning, the wind is cooling, and the pumpkin spice everything is back on the market. Lattes, bread, cookies, cupcakes, soups, if you can cook it, it has a pumpkin version. While it’s great to indulge in these seasonal goodies once in a while, it’s also a good idea to educate yourself about what is in them. Often times these delicious treats have more processed ingredients or even more calories, fat and sugar than their unmodified relatives. For example, a grande nonfat latte from Starbucks has about 130 calories and about 18 grams of sugar versus a grande nonfat pumpkin latte which has 260 calories and a whopping 48 g of sugar! 48 grams of sugar is equvaliant to 12 teaspoons of sugar. The American Heart Association recommend no more than 100 caloires per day for women (about 6 teaspoons) and no more than 150 calories per day for men (9 teaspoons). That is double the recommended amount of sugar for women and about 1.3 times over the recommended amount for men. And sure some of the sugar found in the latte is naturally occuring from the milk, and there is nothing to worry about with the natural sugars. What we want to be aware of is the added sugars in these beverages.
Though these pumpkin treats are great once in a while, a real pumpkin is very nutritious! It’s loaded with vitamin A and vitamin C plus it is easy to roast in the oven. The seeds themselves are also great snack or salad options as they are high in good fats and proteins.
The seeds are also very simple to make:
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Toss seeds in olive oil and a little salt.
3. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown stirring occasionally.
4. Remove and let cool before enjoying.
Take advantage of this delicious seasonal food! Definitely treat yourself to some roasted pumpkin and pumpkin seeds and ring in the fall season!