Orange you glad it’s pumpkin season?
This vibrant fruit is more than just a pretty decoration, though. Packed with Vitamin A, fiber and the antioxidant beta-carotene, your favorite edible squash can promote healthy eyesight and digestion.
Therefore, in order to get the most benefits per bite, you’d better DIY instead of buy. Here are six guilt-free pumpkin recipes to get you started:
1. Pumpkin Pie Bites (92 calories per pie)
These cute mini pies make portion control a cinch, and they help you to avoid portion distortion. Simply press your favorite pie crust into muffin trays, and spoon in the low-sugar filling.
Each serving clocks in at just 92 calories, so having one (or two) won’t weigh you down.
2. Healthier Pumpkin Spice Latte (85 calories per cup)
Nothing says autumn like a cup of pumpkin-spiced caffeine. Unfortunately, many coffee shops use artificial syrups and added sugar in your favorite sweet sip.
Looking to avoid fake ingredients? This slimmed-down version is all-natural and has only 85 calories. (Plus, here's how to tell if you're exceeding your daily sugar intake.)
3. Mini Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins (83 calories per muffin)
Cranberry and pumpkin is such a beautiful marriage of fall flavors.
Thanks to a scant amount of brown sugar and zero butter, these 83-calorie treats are much healthier than your standard supermarket pastries. If you’re in the mood for regular muffins instead of minis, just remember to double the baking time.
4. Whole-Wheat Pumpkin Spice Bread (167 calories per slice)
Instead of butter, this recipe uses yogurt to maintain moisture, while cutting down on fat.
Plus, swapping whole-wheat flour for the white variety will deliver a hearty serving of healthy whole grains.
The best part? Your entire home will smell delectable while your loaf is baking.
5. Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes (187 calories per three pancakes)
Get ready to flip for these festive flapjacks. Cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves give your batter an equal mix of spicy and sweet.
This recipe is perfect for weekend brunch or any morning you have 20 minutes to spare.
Keep it simple for a 190-calorie dish, or top your stack with a drizzle of maple syrup or a smear of creamy Greek yogurt, if you’re craving all the fixings.
6. Low-Fat Pumpkin Cheesecake Pops (90 calories per pop)
Normal cheesecake has loads of fat, but these pumpkin treats have only 90 calories and five grams of fat a pop.
If you’re prepping for a party, make the filling the day before and chill the mixture overnight. Then, shape into balls and coat with chocolate before your guests arrive.
7. Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie (148 calories per eight-ounce cup)
Let your post-workout smoothie get in on the pumpkin action.
This simple recipe tastes like your favorite Thanksgiving pie, but it packs 17 grams of protein per 10-ounce serving, thanks to vanilla protein powder.
(Not sure how to use protein powder? Check out this beginner's guide.)
Flavor, protein and fiber? We’ll raise our glass to that.
This article was written by Alex Orlov for Life by DailyBurn.