Diane May Nutrition Blog

What To Do After You Pick Your Pumpkin

October 8th, 2018

Its that time of year when the weather gets crips and people are apple and pumpkin picking.  We eat those apples, but only decorate the poor pumpkins.  Pumpkins are incredibly healthy and loaded with nutrients. Yes, they are a superfood! Although fresh is always best, using canned pumpkin is just as good, just do not get pre- seasoned pumpkin, as it may contain added sugar and may have flavors you do not want. It is a member of the squash family and you can cook the flesh and roast the seeds.  Pumpkin has about 30 calories per cup, is low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol and sodium. It is also a good source of vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, copper and manganese. There are many health benefits to consuming pumpkin:

  • The potassium can help to lower blood pressure and reduce risk of stroke.
  • The beta carotene is a powerful antioxidant that has shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers and assist with eyesight (as well as the Vitamin A). It can also improve the immune system. A study published in The Journal of Pharmacological Science showed promise for the benefit of pumpkin and cancer prevention, especially prostate and colon. 
  • A great source of fiber, can assist with bowel function and blood glucose control.
  • Can assist with weight loss due to its high fiber content, which keeps us feeling full longer.
  • Give you glowing skin due to the fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids.
  • Can reduce inflammation due to the high levels of beta cryptoxanthin ( a pro vitamin A carotenoid).

Pumpkin puree can replace oil or butter when baking (ratio of one to one for oil, for butter, multiply the amount of butter by 3/4), Add 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin for each egg, puree can replace a banana in a recipe,  you can roast the flesh, puree it into a creamy soup or filling, add to yogurt or even make a healthy spiced latte. Always store in a cool, dark place.  If you eat too much, your skin may turn orange due to the beta carotene-don’t panic, its not permanent! So just don’t carve that pumpkin, eat this superfood!

Pumpkin-Oat Mini Muffins

From: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2018

These flourless pumpkin muffins are made entirely in the blender, making cleanup a breeze. If you’d rather make 12 regular-size muffins, bake for 18 to 20 minutes and let cool for 10 minutes before turning them out of the pan.

Ingredients       24 servings

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1½ cups rolled oats (see Tip)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ cups rolled oats (see Tip)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup mini chocolate chips or chopped dried cranberries


  •  Prep       15 m
  • Ready In     45 m
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 24-cup mini muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Pulse oats in a blender until finely ground. Add baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt; pulse once or twice to blend. Add eggs, pumpkin, brown sugar, oil and vanilla; puree until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips (or cranberries). Fill the prepared muffin cups two-thirds full.
  3. Bake the muffins until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then turn out to cool completely.
  • Tip: People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should use oats that are labeled “gluten-free,” as oats are often cross-contaminated with wheat and barley.


Nutrition information


  • Serving size: 1 muffin
  • Per serving: 82 calories; 3 g fat(1 g sat); 1 g fiber; 13 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 6 mcg folate;16 mg cholesterol; 9 g sugars; 8 g added sugars; 1,611 IU vitamin A; 0 mg vitamin C; 26 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 66 mg sodium; 64 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (32% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 1
  • Exchanges: ½ starch, ½ other carb