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11-11-2013

Get Pumped for Pumpkin

Make the most out of your Thanksgiving Pumpkins

By Jennifer Fisher

After eating a big holiday meal, indulging in that traditional slice of pumpkin pie might leave you parked on the couch for hours. While the seasonal dessert is an American icon, the average slice of pumpkin pie has 320 calories – and that’s without whipped cream! But, please don’t give this big orange squash the kibosh; pumpkin is actually a nutrient-dense super-food that is great any time of the year. And, if you’re creative, a leftover Thanksgiving pumpkin can make a great weight for your workouts.

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Thrusters

Get pumped with a pumpkin

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart; keep core tight. Hold pumpkin close to chest.

(A) Sit back into squat position.

(B) Extend body upward while moving pumpkin overhead with arms in a locked-out position.

Repeat 10 times for 5 sets.

Pumpkin Strong

Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamins including A, C, E and K. In addition to boosting immunity, the anti-oxidant powers of pumpkin have been linked to the prevention of heart disease, various cancers, and improved eye health. Pumpkin is also abundant in iron, a must-have mineral for oxygen delivery to all systems of the body, including the working muscles. Endurance athletes who train at a high intensity need more iron in their diets to increase their production of red blood cells. Studies have shown that up to one in four female runners and triathletes are iron deficient. Eat your pumpkin, people!

There are even more reasons to sing the praises of pumpkin. Pumpkin is one of those rare foods that maintain taste, texture and nutrients when canned – this makes it a convenient super-food source for busy days. Also good to know; one cup of canned pumpkin puree has just 80 calories and offers seven grams of fiber. Adequate fiber consumption creates a feeling of fullness that can help curb between meal snacking and aid in weight loss. Also, one cup of pumpkin puree provides three grams of protein to help in muscle-making and recovery.

Enjoy all the nutritional benefits of pumpkin with a much healthier dessert this Thanksgiving. My recipe for Core Power Pumpkin Mousse is super smooth and creamy and will satisfy your sweet tooth without weighing you down with excess sugar and fat. Plus, all the extra protein from the Core Power high protein shake will keep you pumped up and primed to race through the shopping malls on Black Friday!

Core Power Pumpkin Mousse Recipe

• 1 ½ cups (2 6-oz containers) 0% fat unsweetened Greek yogurt
• 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
• 8 ounces Core Power vanilla high protein shake (about ¾ bottle)
• 3 tablespoons sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
• 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
• 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 3 packets Stevia (or sweetener of choice)
• Optional toppings: light whip cream, granola*, additional cinnamon

Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. Refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes until set. Top with whipped cream and granola, if desired.
Serves 4

* Check out my recipes for Pumpkin Protein Granola and Gingerbread Protein Granola at TheFitFork.com.

Jennifer Fisher is an enthusiastic Core Power fan and user. Along with being a contributor to the fairlife team, she’s a #FitFluential Ambassador, #IDEAfit Inspired Blogger and contributor at the Cooking Light Blogger Connection. Jennifer is also a fit food & healthy living guest speaker, competitive master’s runner, CrossFit enthusiast and mother of three pre-teen through teen boys! For more on Jennifer, visit her blog TheFitFork.com and follow her on twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

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