5 Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin

If you have been following my tweets you may well know my recent love for pumpkin. It. Is.Amazing. Certainly satisfies any taste and easy on the blood sugars. A few ideas for pumpkin include:

1.Pumpkin Soup  – First peel an pumpkin, cube and then roast in the oven. Once tender blend together ingredients such as cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut milk, onion, pepper, sea salt and a touch of honey.

2. Pumpkin Porridge – On a Sunday I will roast a whole pumpkin or throw a diced pumpkin in the slow cooker to have on hand during the week. This comes in handy, especially early mornings when I am pinched for time. My pumpkin porridge includes 2 eggs, 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of pumpkin, cinnamon, sea salt pecans/macadamia nuts all mixed together and microwaved in a coffee mug. Viola.

3. Roasted Pumpkin – As simple as it sounds, I reheat pumpkin and add some spice to my liking. Paprika and pumpkin marry well and go nicely with 2 poached eggs or grilled fish.

4. Pumpkin Dessert – I reheat pumpkin again with a concoction of coconut milk or flakes, cocoa nibs and cinnamon. If I have a really bog sweet tooth, I will drizzle some honey on-top.

5. Pumpkin Salad – Pumpkin over some fresh greens, pine nuts and homemade balsamic dressing is an easy and go-to dinner for me this season. The fiber keeps me full and the pine nuts have the perfect taste. If I want a little sweetness to my salad, I will also throw in some raisins.

As you can see pumpkin is so versatile. Do you have a favorite way to eat it? One thing is for sure – while it’s easy to buy pumpkin in a can (especially in the US), it is much better to buy and roast one, eliminating the preservatives and package contamination. Good health, often takes an extra step but is always worth it.

Cheers to you and good health,

Dried Plums: Your Next Diet Trick

Snacking on dried plums could be more effective as an appetite suppressant than a low-fat snack, say researchers.

Presenting their findings at the recent 2009 Experimental Biology meeting in New Orleans, scientists from San Diego State University suggested dried plums curbed the appetite more than a “similarly sweet, low-fat cookie snack”.
“Perhaps by lowering glucose or appetite-regulating hormones,” added the researchers, proffering potential reasons behind the satiety role displayed by the dried plums.

Feelings of fullness, calorie control and metabolism control are all key facets incorporated into the burgeoning area of weight management. An area for which the food industry, in recent years, has cranked up research and innovation efforts to meet soaring consumer demand, and lucrative market opportunities, for foods that directly target weight loss.

Since about 87 per cent of women snack twice a day, said Mark Kern, lead researcher on the plum snack study, the thrust behind their research came from the aim to “identify satiating snack foods”.

The plum study dynamics
Nineteen adult women, who had previously fasted, ate two 238-calorie snacks (dried plums or low-fat cookies), 238-calorie white bread, or water on separate days two hours prior to “being presented with a meal to be consumed until satisfied”.

Study participants then completed hunger-related questionnaires, and researchers analysed their blood at regular intervals.
The researchers report that satiety – the feeling of fullness – was “significantly higher” for the dried plums versus low-fat cookies.
Dried plums, they claim, also elicited lower levels of plasma glucose and insulin than the low-fat cookie.

Kern also studied the influence of 100-calorie servings of snacks of dried plums versus low-fat cookies twice daily for two weeks on total energy, essential micronutrient, fibre and fat intake, and effects on serum triglycerides and bowel habits in 26 adult women.

The research team found that consistent consumption of dried plums improved blood lipids and diet quality and eased bowel movements in comparison to a commercially processed snack.
“Since appropriate snacking is likely important for optimal weight management practices, we were pleased that our research demonstrated the satiating power of a dried plum snack and its promotion of improved dietary intake and good digestive health,” said Kern.

Source: Experimental Biology 2009, 545.11″Snack selection influences satiety response in adult women”Authors: Furchner-Evanson A, Petrisko Y, Howarth LS, Nemoseck T and Kern M. Click here

Have a Healthy and fit day!