Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin beer, pumpkin ravioli…it seems everywhere you go, pumpkin is on the menu. I look forward to a big slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving (which is surprisingly not too far away), but it turns out there are several good reasons to enjoy pumpkin more than once a year!
On this Motivation Monday, I offer just a few of the health perks found in fall’s signature squash:
- Post-Workout Power! You’ve probably heard the rave reviews for bananas as a natural source of energy. However, one cup of cooked pumpkin has more of the refueling nutrient potassium with 564 milligrams compared to a banana’s 422. A little extra potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout and keeps muscles functioning at their best.
- Good for Your Baby Blues…and Browns, Greens and Hazels, too!: One cup of mashed pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin. Also, pumpkin is full of carotenoids, a fancy name for the compounds that create its orange color including Beta carotene, which has been linked to eye protection.
- Keep Your Appetite in Check! This often forgotten source of fiber packs three grams in a one-cup serving with only 49 calories. Countless studies show a fiber-rich diet can help you stay full longer so you eat more sensibly throughout the day.
So, while it’s always a good idea to enjoy the pumpkin pie in moderation, there’s no reason not to indulge in some of the other healthy options provided by this seasonal favorite to stay on track with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous !
Don’t Drink Your Calories!
I know, nothing offers a little lift on a hot, humid day like an ice-infused combination of coffee and chocolate or some other sweet favor. It’s just important to remember those kicks can pack quite a punch when it comes to calories, fat and sugar.
Even though Starbucks has created quite a buzz with the new mini Frappuccino®, the 10-ounce regular coffee flavor still has 120 calories and 24 grams of sugar. Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, the new S’mores Frappuccino packs a whopping 330 calories and 43 grams of sugar in a 12-ounce tall serving. (I won’t even list the numbers in the grande, venti or trenta sizes. You can check out those eye-opening digits for yourself by clicking here.)
If you’re a Dunkin’ Donuts drinker, this may be the time of year you start sipping the signature Coolatta®. Here’s how the small frozen coffee flavor breaks down:
- Coolatta with cream: 210 calories; 23 grams of fat; 49 grams of carbs and 43 grams of sugar.
- Coolatta with skim milk: while you knock out the fat (O grams total), you still end up drinking in 210 calories and 49 grams of sugar. (The full list of frozen beverages can be found by clicking here.)
As you repeat readers know, I would never tell anyone not to enjoy a treat once in awhile. However, it’s a good time of year to pay attention to what’s on your daily menu. If a frozen coffee beverage becomes a routine extra at breakfast, lunch or snack time, remember, those are extra calories you’re adding to the entire day. Also, substituting real food with a large or extra-large frozen anything is never a good idea. Your body needs the proper fuel to keep running. And when you come down from your frozen-sugar buzz, you’ll probably still be hungry.
Yes, treats are a fun part of life. We just need to keep them in check so that we take the best care of our bodies. If you’ve already taken that positive step of adding exercise to your daily routine, you will only reap extra benefits by eating wholesome, healthy foods. Remember, you really are what you eat – and during these hot, steamy months -that includes what you drink! Keep track of those treats and you’ll be able to stay the course on your journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!