My clients and I are gearing up for Eating Clean in 2014, a three-week program, beginning the first Monday in January – tomorrow! Lately, nutrition has been more in our conversation than training. I reminded them (and me) of the importance of fiber in weight management, and general good health.
When you track your nutrition, you quickly realize you’ll need to make a conscious effort to get the 25 – 35 grams of fiber per day recommended by most nutritional guidelines. I find the very best way to make sure I’m getting enough fiber is to be sure I get enough at breakfast. Somehow, when breakfast is in line, all the other meals seem to follow.
A great source of important nutrients, including soluble and insoluble fiber, comes from pumpkin. One half-cup of canned pumpkin provides 5 grams of fiber in a total of 9 grams of carbohydrates. Half of these 5 grams of fiber is soluble fiber, which absorbs water and contributes to a feeling of fullness for several hours after eating, in addition to aiding digestion and reducing blood sugar levels. We haven’t even talked about the beta-carotene, vitamin A, magnesium, and other nutrients in that half-cup of canned pumpkin, packed in 40 calories. Wow!
If you have a smoothie in the morning, you’ll hardly notice a half-cup of pumpkin thrown in. The taste and texture are easily disguised by most ingredients. If you use one-third of a 15 oz. can, the rest can be frozen in two portions.
Here’s a recipe I’ve used that I love, found on http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/8-great-pumpkin-recipes.html
Coconut – Pumpkin Ice Cream:
- 1/2 cup Low-fat Cottage Cheese
- 1/2 cup Low-fat Greek Yogurt
- 1 cup Skim Milk
- 3-5 drops Stevia
- 1/2 cup Canned Pumpkin
- 1/4 cup chopped Pecans
- 1 tbsp Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Place mixture in a covered container in the freezer. Stir every half hour until desired consistency is reached.
Pumpkin is a thickener that can substitute in many recipes. Check for recipes using it in soups, tomato sauces, and desserts for a much healthier alternative to creams and oils.