The Power of Pumpkin

By Katelyn Castro

This autumn staple is a great addition to a well-rounded nutrition plan.

It’s pumpkin season! Need I say more? Fall is just around the corner which means the kids are back in school, football season has started, and the holiday’s are on their way. When I think of fall, I think of the scent of apple cinnamon filling my house; using my slow-cooker more in the next few months than I do all year; and pumpkin. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ravioli, carving jack-o-lanterns and roasting pumpkin seeds–is there anything better?! I know a few of you are on this bandwagon with me.

While pumpkin abounds this time of year, this glorious gourd presents with all sorts of health benefits. Let me fill you in. First of all, this vegetable is low in calories, rich in vitamins–specifically vitamin A for eyesight–antioxidants such as beta-carotene, fiber, and iron. In a one-cup serving of pureed pumpkin, you’ll consume only 83 calories, 7.1 grams of fiber, and almost half of your recommended dietary allowance of iron. Remember, fiber helps keep us fuller, longer, so pumpkin is a great option to add to your breakfast routine to stave off cravings if lunch is later in the day.

Pumpkin is also loaded with potassium. I’m sure you’ve heard of bananas being high in potassium and great for a post-workout snack (which they are), but would you believe me if I said a one-cup serving of pumpkin beats out a large banana? It’s true! Pumpkin is perfect to help recover after intense training.

Lastly, pumpkin seeds are a great snack when you’re on the go. A quarter-cup serving yields 71 calories, 3 grams of fiber, and serves as a great source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Simply add this vegetable to your diet this fall, and reap all the benefits while reaching your nutrition and fitness goals.

Katelyn is a Metabolic Effect Nutrition Consultant and Dietetics student at Kansas State University. For more nutritional information or to contact Katelyn, she can be reached at