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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Pumpkin Power!

Talking about Halloween yesterday put me in the mood for one of my favorite fall flavors - pumpkin. Pumpkins aren't only "gourd-eous" (hee-hee), they're nutrition powerhouses - and they don't even need to be fresh.

I call this smoothie "liquid pumpkin pie" and I love it! I blend a half cup of canned 100% pumpkin (the only ingredient is pumpkin) with three quarters cup vanilla soy milk, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spices (a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice), and about 7-8 ice cubes.

It's not super sweet but that'how I like it and get this - that half cup (size of a mini fruit cup) of pumpkin provides just 40 calories, 5 grams of dietary fiber (about 20% of the daily goal!), a few grams of protein, a little vitamin E and iron and a boat load (I'm talking a lot here) of beta-carotene - a major antioxidant (you know, those body guard things I've mentioned before that prevent cancer and heart disease).

Beta carotene also helps our skin and mucous membranes (like inside your nose) form barriers to keep out bacteria and viruses. In other words, pumpkin can help you "squash" bugs (sorry, I couldn't resist!).

Before I sign off, here are some fun pumpkin tidbits:

  • The largest pumpkin ever grown was 1,469 lb (yikes!)
  • Illinois produces more pumpkins than any other state (huh!)
  • The pumpkin is the state fruit of New Hampshire (yup, it's a fruit)
  • Pumpkin is a popular term of endearment (I prefer "punkin" myself)
  • P.S. The whole smoothie weighs in at a mere 115 calories, and I find it quite satisfying!
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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.