Not gonna lie: my favorite part about carving pumpkins on Halloween isn't the actual carving of the pumpkin...it's the labor of love with the pumpkin seeds! You know, the scooping out the seeds, the separating the seeds from the slimy "guts" of the pumpkin, roasting the seeds in the oven...yum. And, pumpkin seeds have a special place in my heart - my grandma used to always have pumpkin seeds at her house and I loved having them as a snack with her. She taught me how to crack the shells open with my teeth to get to the actual seed, which was always fun to do as a kid...kind of like a game!
If you're surprised that pumpkin seeds are included in this series for day 5 of #PlantPoweredProtein, check it:
- Protein: A 1oz serving of these guys gives you between 7-9g of protein.
- Zinc: Small but mighty, pumpkin seeds are pretty substantial sources of zinc. According to World's Healthiest Foods, 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds pack around 23% of the daily recommended intake of zinc for adults.
- Fiber: Fiber has been popping up throughout this series and pumpkin seeds are yet another great source of that.
- Healthy fats: While pumpkin seeds tend to have a higher fat content, the majority are mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which make your heart happy.
- High in antioxidants: Pumpkin seeds contain antioxidants which help our bodies to protect our cells from free radicals, reduce inflammation and even keep us safe from disease.
- High in magnesium: Like fiber, magnesium is essential to our health and is something that many of us don't get enough of. Magnesium aids our bodies in things like keeping our bones healthy, regulating blood sugar levels and keeping our blood pressure under control.
What to look for when buying pumpkin seeds:
- Check the bulk food bins at your local grocery store for raw or roasted unshelled pumpkin seeds. They tend to be cheaper here.
- If you prefer the pumpkin seeds with the shell, opt for the unsalted varieties. You may find other unwanted / unnecessary additives + too much sodium in the salted kind. Always read your food labels to check the ingredients. :)
Ways to incorporate pumpkin seeds into your diet:
- Toss them into your cereal
- Mix them into homemade granola or granola bars
- Sprinkle on top of yogurt
- Eat them alone as a snack
- Incorporate them into pumpkin bread or muffins
- Or, my personal favorite: add them to your favorite salad like this recipe below:
- 1 bunch of organic kale
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 apple, diced (whatever your favorite kind of apple may be)
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- 2 TBS pumpkin seeds (I'm using raw pumpkin seeds that I got in the bulk good section of my local grocery store)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 TBS of apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp of Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp of maple syrup
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Throughly wash your kale. Remove stems and place leaves into a bowl with lemon juice.
- Massage the lemon juice into the kale with your hands to start to break down the fibers of the leaves. Set aside to rest.
- Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper.
- Squeeze out the excess water from the kale and place leaves onto plate or in bowl.
- Slice your apple and places pieces on top of your kale. Add your pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds.
- Drizzle with dressing (you'll have extra dressing so store in fridge to use with another salad) and enjoy!
What is your favorite way to eat pumpkin seeds?