Wondering what to do with that extra pumpkin hanging around in your fridge? Make a smoothie!
When you are all tired out from the cooking that goes along with Thanksgiving, a smoothie is the perfect snack or breakfast for using up leftovers without much fuss.
Pumpkin is a rich source of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene (the precursor to vitamin A). These are antioxidants, meaning they help to neutralize free radicals hanging out in your body. It is also a good source of three other antioxidants: lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin.
Interestingly, in Iran, pumpkin has been used traditionally as a remedy for type 2 diabetes. To test out this theory, a study  was conducted that looked at 4 groups:
- Add pumpkin to diet (daily @ lunch)
- Add pumpkin + yogurt to diet (daily @ lunch)
- Add yogurt to diet (daily @ lunch)
- Control- given dietary advice
The group that added just the pumpkin saw benefits to the following lab values:
- Fasting blood sugar
- Hemoglobin A1C (a marker of blood sugar levels over the past 3 months)
- HsCRP (a marker of inflammation)
- Blood pressure (systolic and diastolic)
Pumpkin & FODMAPs
Suffering from digestive issues? Then you may want to consider the FODMAP content of foods.
The world of squashes and FODMAPs is confusing. Japanese pumpkin (red kuri squash) has been tested by Monash University to be low FODMAP at any serving, while spaghetti squash needs to be kept to a serving size of 1 cup to remain low FODMAP. And butternut squash must be kept to 1/4 cup. Many other squashes (acorn, kabocha, delicata) have yet to be tested.
So where does that leave pumpkin? Canned pumpkin is low FODMAP at 1/4 cup or less. That’s a limit that is easy to go over if making something like pumpkin mousse.
I have kept the portion size of pumpkin in this recipe at 1/4 cup to make sure your FODMAP-sensitive tummy stays happy. Enjoy!
- 1 frozen banana (fresh is fine if you don't have any already frozen)
- ¼ cup pumpkin (canned or fresh cooked)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 pinch cloves
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
- 1 tablespoon protein powder (my favorite is pumpkin seed protein)
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
- 1 cup ice (optional)
- Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
 Bayat A, Azizi-soleiman F, Heidari-beni M, et al. Effect of Cucurbita ficifolia and Probiotic Yogurt Consumption on Blood Glucose, Lipid Profile, and Inflammatory Marker in Type 2 Diabetes. Int J Prev Med. 2016;7(1):30.