Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Likely the most well-known vegetable making its debut this time of year is pumpkin. Not many fall veggies are known for both their decorative looks and their nutrient value. Lucky for us, pumpkins are multi-purpose.

Pumpkins are an excellent source of beta-carotene, a carotenoid that acts as an antioxidant and is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A plays a vital role in eye health, helps to support the immune system, and is known to help maintain healthy skin. Pumpkins are also a source of fiber coming in at 3g of fiber per cup (when cooked and mashed). Two great reasons to add more of this orange vegetable to your plate. 

No need to scoop, roast, and mash your own pumpkin. Instead, pick up a can of pumpkin puree (note, this is not pumpkin pie filling which contains added sugar and spices). It's the convenient and user-friendly ingredient featured in this simple, fall breakfast.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Makes 2 servings

1 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup non-fat or low-fat plain greek yogurt
1 tbsp pumpkin butter*
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

For topping
1 tbsp walnuts
1 tbsp granola of your choice

In a microwave-safe bowl, pour oats and enough water to cover the oats. Microwave on high for 1.5 - 2 minutes, or until oats are cooked. Add pumpkin puree, greek yogurt, pumpkin butter, and spices. Top with walnuts and your favorite granola. 

*Pumpkin butter can be homemade or store bought. I used Trader Joe's brand, but there are many other brands available. Example 1, 2, and 3.


Tricks and Treats for a Healthier Halloween

When you think about Halloween, you probably think of fresh fruit and vegetables...right? Wrong. You think candy, like the rest of us (including the dietitians!). We all know candy is here to stay when it comes to Halloween festivities. Use my tricks below to make this year's event enjoyably better-for-you and your family. 

Click the photo to hear more about making Halloween healthier this year.

Before Halloween

  • Have a plan for leftover candy. You may decide to participate in a buy back program or donate it. No matter what you choose make sure you're prepared for the mounds leftover. See below for more after Halloween tips.

Halloween Night

  • Eat dinner before hitting the trick-or-treat route. Make sure to include veggies, whole grains, and lean animal or plant-based proteins.
  • If your neighborhood is safe for walking then enjoy a night on foot instead of by car. You'll stay active, hit fewer houses worth of candy bowls, and see more costumes (a win-win-win).
  • If you're stocking-up on candy options for your home or office then checkout a few of my favorites listed below. The theme? Lower sugar and mini-packages for built-in portion control.

After Halloween

  • Don't leave a bowl of candy in plain sight. Put candy in an opaque dish in the cabinet. Leave fresh fruit or vegetables where you can see them. This is a great rule for year around snacking as research shows that you're more likely to eat more of the foods readily available and within eyesight. 
  • Remember, don't use candy as a reward or punishment. More on this here

Allison's Halloween Snack-ables List

Note: All snacks listed below are my choices based on nutrient value. I have not received financial or other incentives for naming products on this list. 

Rule of thumb: opt for mini versions or individual packages of candies and snacks. Avoid full-sized candy bars. Choose cookies and crackers with 15g or less of sugar per serving.

Cookies and Crackers

Chocolate and Candy

Beyond the Traditional Candies and Cookies

  • Freeze-dried fruit - it has a great crunch and is fun for kids
  • Mini granola bars like these from GoMacro
  • Mini packages of trail mix - I love these mixes from Enjoy Life. Free of all eight major allergens.