There are tons of reasons to love fall—from digging out those cozy scarves, boots and sweaters to sipping hot lattes while walking outside. But perhaps the most beloved part of Autumn is its most versatile item that we just can’t get enough of: pumpkin.
We proudly put it on (and in!) everything. From decorating our doorsteps and window sills with carved masterpieces to eating it in nearly every way possible, chances are you won’t make it to November without having some pumpkin in your life. If you’re adding it to your recipes – you’re making quite the healthy choice: Not only is pumpkin loaded with dozens of nutrients, but studies have also shown that it may reduce your risk of cancer, boost your mood and even help keep your skin glowing and wrinkle-free.
So whether you dig sweet or savory, prefer lunch or dinner, get a load of these healthy pumpkin recipes for your mind, body and taste buds:
Lighter Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
It’s hard to resist the scrumptious, sugary pumpkin loafs and muffins staring you right in the face when you walk by a dessert or coffee shop. But as delicious as they may be, they’re almost always loaded with high amounts of saturated fat and calories and umpteen grams of sugar. Instead, make your own, lighter version. It’s a lot easier than you think—just replace heavy ingredients like butter with healthier alternatives, like applesauce. Trust us: You’ll hardly be able to tell the difference.
Get the recipe from: Coffee Cake and Cardio
Thai-Spice Pumpkin Soup
If dairy isn’t your bestie (hey, it happens to the best of us!) – making creamier soups in the winter can be a pain. Good news! This recipe calls for coconut milk, and is not only dairy-free, but gluten-free, too – making it a pretty tasty (and healthy) option. The added red Thai curry paste gives the pumpkin an added flavor boost that’s perfect at lunchtime when you need some extra motivation to make it to kickboxing. We won’t judge if you have seconds.
Get the recipe from: 101 Cookbooks
Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili
Nothing says fall quite like chili. But when you ordering a bowl from your local restaurant, it’s likely packed with a big chunk of buttery cornbread and contains some not-so-lean crumbles of red meat. However, chili can be extremely good for you—and tasty!—when made with the right ingredients. Try this healthier version that comes with an added pumpkin flair and a spice kick. The trick is to sub lean ground turkey for ground meat, and use more nutritious beans like white or black instead of refried. This ups the ante on your protein and fiber intake, leaving you less sluggish and a whole lot more energized for the next day’s class.
Get the recipe from: Gigi Eats Celebrities
Sugar-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake
Let’s be honest: You can’t really enjoy pumpkin in all its glory if you’re not simultaneously satisfying your sweet tooth. And even if you swear that you hate sweets, you won’t be able to pass up this sweet recipe. Not only is it easy to make—it doesn’t require an oven!—but it’s also not throwing your entire day’s workout to the wind. Thanks to low-fat ingredients and use of spice in place of excess sugar, you can indulge guilt-free on plenty of spoonfuls of this whipped delight—crust included!
Get the recipe from: Healthy Indulgences
Pumpkin Spinach Bean Quesadilla
What better way to nom on a snack or meal than with your favorite ingredients smothered between two chewy pieces of tortilla? Instead of being loaded with heavy cheese, this recipe calls for fresh spinach, fiber-filled black beans and, of course, some pumpkin puree, which brings tons of energy-boosting potassium to your plate.
Get the recipe from: Happy Fit Mama
Pumpkin Protein Pancakes
Before heading to a workout class, the last thing you think to chow down on is pancakes. That’s because, like most people, you probably use a pre-made mix filled with granulated sugar, egg batter and less-than-ideal amounts of fiber and protein. Instead, make your own with some pumpkin flavor and a solid boost of protein that will carry you through your a.m. exercise class. The trick is to sub full eggs for egg whites, leaving out the cholesterol-filled yoke. Next, use cottage cheese and oatmeal for a protein boost that slashes calories in half. In place of sugar, use natural honey, which gives a nice flavor that won’t make your tummy ache mid-squat.
Get the recipe from: Fit 2 Flex
Beef Pumpkin Tostadas
Go ahead and invite your pals over post-class for this fall-flavored meal that’s chock-full of protein and iron. While it looks a whole lot fancier than it is to prepare, this recipe takes less than a half hour! The key is to buy top-notch ingredients well in advance. Surprisingly, the pumpkin puree base combines effortlessly with the lean meat, giving you protein, fiber, antioxidants and loads of flavor. You’ll feel like a Top Chef competitor as you Instagram your final product.
Get the recipe from: The Fit Fork