More to Pumpkin than PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte)

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by Paige Riley

To most of the world’s delight, that time of the year has arrived again. The cold weather season has not only turned the leaves outside a brilliant orange color, but also every aisle and label in the grocery store. Just in case you are not yet aware or live under a rock, PUMPKIN SPICE EVERYTHING IS BACK. The options are endless- from pumpkin flavored Pringles to pumpkin spice toothpaste (yes this exists), it’s a mystery consumers have yet to turn orange from Vitamin A overkill.

Besides pumpkin flavored foods being incredibly tasty, most of them are slammed packed with sugar and (in my opinion) barely qualify as a food source. According to the Starbucks website, a Grande Pumpkin Spice latte with 2% milk and whipped cream contains about 350 calories and 50g of sugar. Pair it with a slice of their pumpkin bread and you’re looking at an additional 410 calories with 39g of sugar tagging along. Talk about one hell of an afternoon crash.
Fear not! Cookies, cakes, and pies aside, the pumpkin is actually a very versatile vegetable that can (and should) be included in a healthy, balanced diet. Without the added sugars, the gourd contains many key nutrients, including copious amounts of fore-mentioned vitamin A and beta-carotene, fiber, potassium, and Vitamin C. It’s also very low in calories, with about 1 cup of chopped pumpkin equaling about 50 calories (same amount as ½ cup unsweetened canned pumpkin).
So pumpkin not only taste delicious, but it can actually be really healthy and beneficial when prepared the right way. Try adding pureed pumpkin to your favorite oatmeal or smoothie recipe or better yet, roasting it along with some other winter squash favorites. Take advantage of the season and try this delicious (and healthy) pumpkin muffin recipe I’ve created. I promise it’s just as good as Starbucks’ pumpkin bread, and you can actually feel good about eating it.

OATMEAL PUMPKIN MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS:
1 ¼ cup oat flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
¼ cup Truvia brown sugar blend
¼ cup light butter
2 eggs
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1 can pumpkin puree (unsweetened! Not pumpkin pie filling)
½ cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
½ -1 tbsp chia seeds (depending on preference)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. To make oat flour, place regular, old fashioned into a blender or food processor and blend until it reaches a flour-like consistency. Measure out 1 ¼ cups.
3. Mix all dry ingredients together into a bowl until well-combined. Do the same with wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just moistened.
5. Divide batter into 12 muffins and bake for 15-20 minutes until fully cooked in the center.
6. Remove muffins from tin and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
7. If feeling decadent, spread your favorite cream cheese or butter on top of the warm muffin and drizzle some honey or maple syrup over the top. ENJOY!

*Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days, but I doubt they’ll last that long.
**Allowing muffins to sit in airtight container overnight will yield a more moist muffin.

NUTRITION FACTS: per 1 muffin

Calories: 130
Fat: 4g
• Sat fat: 1g
Carbs: 22g
• Sugars: 4.5g
Protein: 4g
Sodium: 100mg

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