Fall is my favorite season…but pumpkin is one of my favorite carb choices year round. This antioxidant rich winter squash is full of potassium, as well as vitamins C, K and E. It’s low cal and with only about 13net carbs (7g fiber) it’s a Dr Brooke and Ultimate You optimal carb choice. While ¼-1/3 cup (i.e. 4-6 bites) of pumpkin with a dash of cinnamon are a quick and easy carb paired with any meal, below are some yummy, interesting ways to enjoy pumpkin. Canned pumpkin is the easiest but if you’re up for it roasting your own is always an option. If you roast your own you can make yet another healthy, delicious, on plan food: roasted pumpkin seeds. To roast, remove seeds from pumpkin and pull away any remaining pulp. Spread out on brown paper bag overnight to dry. To bake, preheat oven to 160-170 degrees and toss pumpkin seeds in 1-2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp sea salt. Add a dash of cayenne, chipotle or black pepper if desired. Spread evenly on cookie sheet (spray cookie sheet lightly with olive oil) and bake 15-20 minutes. Baking at this low heat of 170 degrees you’ll preserve the healthy fats in the seeds. Pumpkin seeds are a crunchy, tasty addition to salads or stirfrys and a small handful make a quick snacks and they are loaded with zinc. Zinc is great for the immune system, for perfect skin and for a healthy sex drive…so eat up! Protein Pumpkin Muffins 15 oz canned or cooked pumpkin ½ cup egg whites 2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice ½ cup chopped walnuts 3 scoops whey 4 packets Truvia or ¼ cup honey (if not following low carb) 1.25 cups almond flour or hazelnut flour (I mix the two) Mix all ingredients in bowl, bake at 350 for 20minutes. These make an excellent snack and perfect when you are on the go – and they freeze easily so make a bunch! Pumpkin Coconut Curry (Sound strange? It is sooo yummy!) 4 chicken breasts, diced 2 tbsp coconut oil 1 small purple onion 3 cloves garlic 2 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped 1 can pumpkin or 15 oz cooked pumpkin 2 cans coconut milk 3.5 tbsp xylitol or brown sugar 1 tsp salt 2-5 tbsp red curry powder 2tbsp pumpkin pie spice 1 tbsp cinnamon Dash cayenne pepper, optiona Chop small purple onion and garlic finely or puree in food processor and set aside. In small saucepan combine coconut milk, pumpkin, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, xylitol or brown sugar, and red curry paste to taste (start with 1-2 tbsp and add more to get desired spiciness). Bring to boil then simmer for 5-10 minutes, reducing volume. When sauce has cooked for at least 5 minutes, add coconut oil, garlic, onion and chicken to large pan. Cook over medium to high heat until chicken is nearly completely cooked. Next, add pumpkin-coconut milk mixture and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes and then serve over a few handfuls of baby spinach. Perfectly on Plan Pumpkin Custard ¼ cup canned or cooked pumpkin 1.5 tbsp low fat ricotta Xylitol and cinnamon to taste Put all ingredients in small bowl and mix – yum! Makes a great snack or dessert. Pumpkin Pie Recovery Shake 1 scoop whey protein powder ½ cup canned or cooked pumpkin 1 tsp cinnamon Xyltiol or truvia to taste, if desired 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk Mix all ingredients in blender and drink within 1 hour post workout. A great departure from berries in your shake!