This holiday food favorite likely graces more tables during the season than any other dessert. We love any dish that makes produce the star of the show, and the pumpkin is surely worthy of the attention: It’s loaded with vision-boosting beta carotene, blood-pressure lowering potassium and other nutrients. While this sweet treat may be better for you than triple-chocolate lava cake, it’s still a treat. And though it is fruit-based, popular recipes tend to also be rich in cream and sugar. Some don’t even use fresh pumpkin, which is a missed opportunity to use local, seasonal produce that’s at its nutritional peak.
Smart Holiday Eating Strategy: Volunteer to bring a healthier version of the dessert to your family gathering. Look for recipes that use honey instead of sugar, or that use tofu to replace the eggs and dairy in the classic version. Or, consider another option that has the same pumpkin flavor and classic spices without the added cream; try pumpkin bread or cookies, for example. But if you’re faced with the temptation of Aunt Mildred’s famous pumpkin pie and you feel you just can’t resist, go ahead and have a slim slice—minus the a la mode, perhaps. You’ll be surprised by how just a forkful or two of something so rich will satisfy you.
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