Did you know that pumpkin treats can be quite healthy? I'm not talking about your traditional pumpkin pie loaded with sugar and cream. Pumpkin — even the canned kind — is rich in the antioxidant beta carotene, and a source of oxygen-transporting iron and the blood-pressure regulating electrolyte potassium.
Low in fat and high in fiber, this ingredient is a must-have for your holiday treats and autumn-inspired eats. Pack in flavor without the fat by substituting pumpkin puree for butter or oil in your baked items. For healthy morning meals, the puree can add a delightful twist to your smoothies, oatmeal and even whole wheat pancakes.
Here is a simple, low-fat, low-in-sugar pumpkin spiced refrigerator "cookie" made from organic, whole food ingredients. The cinnamon, cloves and vanilla enhance the natural sweetness of the dates, raisins and pumpkin.
Pumpkin Spiced Energy Bites
Recipe by Lauren O'Connor, MS, RDN
Makes about 20 bite-sized pieces
These yummy bites are just 45 calories each! Enjoy a serving (2 bites) for less than 100 calories and only 3 grams of sugar. And bonus, each serving contains 3 grams of dietary fiber!
1 cup organic oats
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
2-3 Tbsp pumpkin puree
3 large dates, pitted
1 Tbsp raisins
1 Tbsp flaxseed meal
1 Tbsp cinnamon (or to taste) + extra for dusting
1/8 tsp cloves
1 tsp vanilla
optional: 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips
- Process oats, 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut, pumpkin puree, dates, raisins, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla in food processor until well-blended and firm.
- Scoop into bite-sized pieces and dust with coconut flakes and cinnamon.
- Place in Tupperware and refrigerate.
Nutritional info. per bite-sized piece: Cal 45, Fat 1.5g, Chol 0mg, Sodium 0mg, Carb 6g, Fiber 1.5g, Sugar 2g, Protein 1g.
With optional chocolate chips addition: Cal 60, Fat 2.5g, Chol 0mg, Sodium 0mg, Carb 8g, Fiber 1.5g, Sugar 2g, Protein 1g.