ATLANTA - Finally, it's pumpkin time!
"You can find it anywhere, whether it's at your local coffee shop or the grocery store, at restaurants, everywhere,” say Ashley Bennett, a registered dietitian with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. “Everyone wants that pumpkin flavor."
Bennett says some pumpkin-flavored foods can be packed with calories and sugar.
But, she says, there are plenty of healthy-for-you ingredients in pumpkin, like Vitamin A, Vitamin C and fiber.
One really healthy recipe?
Bennett calls it “warm pumpkin chili.”
"What you do is you just use some ground turkey, saute' peppers with it,” Bennett says. “You can do it the night before, then throw it in the crock pot the next morning."
Add beans, corn, tomatoes and then some pureed pumpkin.
“Let it sit on low for 6 to 8 hours and it's ready for dinner," Bennett says.
October means many of us are grabbing a pumpkin spice latte.
But Bennett says a large pumpkin spice latte can contain up to 450 calories, and loads of added sugar.
So, she suggests a DIY healthier option.
Brew your own coffee, add some milk and sweetener, then add pumpkin spice.
“It’s really all those fall flavors put together,” Bennett says. “It's nutmeg, cinnamon, usually ground clove and some ginger."
Next, Bennett says, stir in come pumpkin puree.
“Just go to the grocery store and pick up a can of pureed pumpkin, and just take a little bit of that and add it in to your coffee,” she says.
When you carve your Halloween pumpkins, save the seeds, which Bennett says are packed with healthy fats and fiber.
"Stick the pumpkin seeds in some water to soften them up, dry them,” Bennett says.
Then, spread them out on a baking tray.
“Put them in the oven, take them out and add some spices to it. Throw them back in the oven and then you've got a great snack."
When they’re golden brown, they’re ready.
Now, you can break them open or eat them whole, but don't miss one of the best, and healthiest, treats of fall.