Loving the BITE: Delicious Pumpkin Smoothie
Walk into any grocery store this time of year and you’re sure to see a big pumpkin display. Orange pyramids of winter squash just waiting to be carved – or better yet, roasted and enjoyed! While you’ll surely want to pick one up for a Jack o’ Lantern masterpiece, go ahead and grab a couple extra baking pumpkins to get loads of antioxidants like beta-carotene in your diet. And no, you don’t have to bake a pie. Just use this week’s Loving the Bite recipes:
Recipes of the week: Delicious Pumpkin Smoothie
- ½ cup roasted fresh pumpkin (choose a baking pumpkin – smaller than Jack o’ Lantern pumpkins)
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- ½ small banana
- ½ -1 tablespoon honey
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Water/ice as needed for desired consistency
*To make a perfect RECOVERY FUEL SMOOTHIE: Ensure adequate recovery carbohydrates, protein, and medium chain triglycerides after a long ride by using 1 Tbsp honey and adding ½ scoop undenatured whey protein (~10 grams) and 1 Tbsp organic coconut oil.
*To roast a pumpkin: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds and strings. Place cut side down on a baking sheet. Poke the skin side with a fork in several places on both pieces. Place in oven and roast until soft (a fork should go through the skin and flesh with ease once it’s done). Most small baking pumpkins take about 90-120 minutes. Once cooled, scoop out flesh and place in a sieve over a bowl to allow water to drain.
*To freeze pumpkin: Roast pumpkin. Once cooled and flesh is scooped out, puree in food processor. Freeze in single servings.
As you can see, it’s all about pumpkins this week at Loving the Bite. And for good reason. Good cycling requires a healthy body. Like other winter squash, pumpkin flesh and seeds provide:
Antioxidants: Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants will work together to fight free radicals, reduce risk of cancer, promote heart health and reduce plague formations, and preserve eye health.
Anti-inflammatory nutrients: The cell walls contain pectin, and this pectin contains components that are anti-inflammatory. A high anti-inflammatory diet can lead to less chronic bodily inflammation which means less chronic bodily disease. Pumpkin seeds offer their own anti-inflammatory components that may reduce arthritis.
Anti-cancer action: Specifically, a reduction in the risk of prostate cancer due to zinc and components in pumpkin seed oil.
Heart-Health Components: Pumpkin seeds contain phytoestrols which can reduce “bad” cholesterol.
Additionally, fiber, monounsatured fats, omega-3s, B-vitamins, and copper (important for energy production).
Bonus Recipe: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Remove the seeds from the pumpkin. Wipe off excess pulp and moisture. Spread in single layer on paper bag overnight to dry out completely. Then, place seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Roast at 160-170°F (about 75°C) for 15-20 minutes. By first allowing them to dry, then roasting at a low temperature for a short time better preserves the healthy oils and nutrients (compared to higher heat and longer roasting).
The more I work with cyclists, the more I am absolutely convinced that a diet high in foods and nutrients that combat inflammation, toxins and oxidative stress makes a huge difference in overall energy, endurance, stamina, recovery, health, metabolism and fat loss. This week, you’ve got a delicious breakfast smoothie and delicious snack. Loads of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Not bad for a holiday decoration.
Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.