All About Pumpkin: Health Benefits, Recipes Ideas and More

Photograph of pumpkin chili

Fall is rolling out… here comes all the pumpkins! Pumpkins are everywhere, from holiday décor to coffee creamer. As we think about having a healthy fall, where do they fit in?

Nutrition Facts About Pumpkin

Pumpkins are technically a fruit because of their seeds, but they more closely resemble a vegetable and pack an impressive nutritional punch. One cup of mashed pumpkin has 49 calories, 12 grams of carbohydrates, two grams of protein, three grams of fiber, and minimal fat. It can be a great low-calorie addition to many recipes and treats.

In addition to their great nutritional profile, pumpkins have other perks! They are rich in alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which your body turns into Vitamin A to strengthen your immune system. Pumpkins are also rich in Vitamins C and E, which help prevent free radicals. The fiber, Potassium and Vitamin C in pumpkins make them a heart-healthy food.

Don’t forget the seeds! A quarter cup of pumpkin seeds has 150 calories, 14 grams of fat, three grams of carbohydrates, eight grams of protein, and two grams of fiber. Pumpkin seeds contain zinc, phosphorus, Vitamin E and magnesium, just to name a few.

Adding it in

Reaching for a pumpkin coffee or pumpkin cookie doesn’t pack as much nutrition as consuming it in other ways. Try these other ideas to take advantage of pumpkin.

  • Add it to your smoothies
  • Pack seeds in your lunch to snack on
  • Add it to your chili
  • Stir some into your oatmeal
  • Use it in a stir fry
  • Roast it for a savory side dish

Pumpkin Chili

Source: ThePioneerWoman.com


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground spicy Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1.5 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 3/4 tsp. ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans fire-roasted tomatoes, not drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth

Optional: Use roasted pumpkin seeds, sour cream, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and avocado for garnish if desired.


In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring to break into pieces, until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Add the onion and bell pepper to the Dutch oven. Cook over medium, stirring, until softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, chili powder, 1 tsp. salt, 3/4 tsp. pepper and cinnamon. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Stir in the tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, pumpkin puree, chicken broth and sausage. Bring to boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors meld, about 20 minutes.

Season the chili with salt and pepper. Serve, garnishing with pumpkin seeds, sour cream, cheese and avocado, if desired.

For more tasty and nutritious fall recipes, click here.

Final Thoughts

Enjoy your fall and don’t forget to eat some pumpkin! Head to the latest pumpkin patch with your family to pick out a few to eat and some for decorating and carving. You’ll have a blast and reap the nutritional benefits of this versatile fall food well.

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