Originally written for Produce for Better Health Foundation and can be viewed here: Fruits & Veggies More Matters : Perfect Pumpkin : Health Benefits of Fruits & Vegetables.
- Economical. Economically speaking, squash/pumpkins are a great way to use dollars spent to decorate while eating healthier, too.
- Seasonal. Seasonally, fall fruits and veggies are the perfect pairing for meals because the nutrients in them can be great for everything from helping protect vision and the heart to helping with blood pressure and healthy skin. Plus, cooking them fills the house with savory aroma and warmth from the oven or stovetop. With health top of mind as we enter flu season, eating smarter tops the list in addition to their delicious and festive colors and taste.
- Nutritious. Nutritionally, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans specifically call out two colors (green and orange) of produce as important to eat weekly due to the powerful nutrition contained in the colors. Pumpkins are a festive way to add nutrients like potassium, iron, fiber, beta carotene, lutein, folate, and vitamins, A, C, & E to your menu (all in one food) as part of a balanced diet!
- Creative. It’s also fun to note that everything from the flower to the flesh to the seeds of pumpkins are edible. Make delicious dishes like pumpkin soup, risotto, or ravioli! Filling half your plate with fruits and veggies is fun and easy in fall. Learn more at ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Start today and find fun holiday appropriate recipes to test so you can surprise and delight your guests this holiday season. Baby steps taken in the right direction can help transform menus over time – on the holidays and every day.