Don’t toss those pumpkin seeds!

October 23, 2017 | by Mary Gardner, RD, LDN
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

One of the best parts of pumpkin carving isn’t the spooky finished product.

It’s the gloppy goo inside.

Specifically, the seeds. It’s worth sifting them out, as not only are they delicious, but also packed full of valuable nutrients. They are a good source of protein, fiber, iron, zinc and magnesium to name a few.

Why does your body need zinc? As the National Institutes of Health reports, zinc gives your immune system a boost, helps heal wounds and is important for fetal development as well as growth in children.

Our bodies also need iron. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explains iron carries oxygen in the hemoglobin of red blood cells throughout your body so your cells can produce energy. Iron also helps remove carbon dioxide. When you’re running low on iron, you’ll feel fatigue, weakness and difficulty maintaining body temperature.

Healthy magnesium levels are important for blood pressure, heart health and bone health.

Toasted pumpkin seeds make a great healthy snack! First, you need to separate the seeds from the stringy pulp.

One good way to do this is to put all the goop in a big bowl. Pick out the big pieces of pumpkin pulp, then fill the bowl with water. The seeds will float to the top. Scoop them out and put them in a colander.

Next, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends you spread the seeds on a baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray or drizzle a small amount of olive oil over seeds. 

Bake the seeds at 325°F for about 30 minutes or until lightly toasted. Stir them occasionally while cooking.

Salt and pepper are perfect seasoning, but you can also get creative. Try garlic powder, cinnamon, or Cajun seasoning!

They’re great as a crunchy snack or in a trail mix, or added to salads, yogurts, soups, or breads when baking.

Try this recipe, which incorporates pumpkin seeds:

Healthy Pumpkin Cookies

Servings: 12 • Calories: 136 • Fat: 5.8 g • Carb: 4.2 g • Fiber: 3 g • Protein: 5.3 g • Sugar: 4.2 g

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 4 egg whites or 2 whole eggs

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine oats, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, ground flax, and pumpkin pie spice. Add honey, pumpkin puree, and egg whites. Stir until fully combined.

Drop large spoonful scoops of the mixture onto a cookie sheet and flatten (cookies won't spread while baking), making 12 cookies. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until edges are lightly browned.

Let cookies cool on baking sheet before moving to an airtight storage container.

Get more Healthy Driven recipes.

 

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