I’m not a big breakfast person, but I am a huge coffee person. Coffee makes me really happy. The smell of it, the taste of it, the childhood memories that come with it – all go into my love of coffee. My husband knows that coffee is a huge part of my “Wake Up & Be Happy” routine, so he brings me a cup to my bedside every single morning. (Yeah, he’s pretty awesome!)
As long as I have my daily 2-3 cups of coffee in the morning, I’m good to go, which is why I often find myself struggling to eat breakfast. Now I know this is bad for me and can cause all sorts of havoc on my body, so I have started to cut back on my morning coffee intake. Surprisingly, I am now able to get by with only 2 cups of coffee.
However, my stomach really dislikes heavy foods before lunchtime, so I get in my morning nutrients via a smoothie and a bowl of oatmeal. I love this breakfast combination because it enables me to change it up based upon the season. Now that summer has passed and Autumn is in full swing, I find myself shying away from my berry-filled smoothies and leaning more towards pumpkin ones like this healthy pumpkin smoothie recipe.
Pumpkin is a healthy addition to my morning routine because it’s a low-calorie, nutrient-dense vegetable that can help me control my high blood pressure. (Yep, even though I eat well and exercise regularly, I still have high blood pressure.) It’s also a great thickener in my morning smoothie and can even be used as a substitute for oil in some baked goods to reduce their calories and fat.
Even though fresh pumpkin is readily available now, I just use plain old canned pumpkin because it’s less mess and offers the same nutritional health benefits as fresh pumpkin. Did you know that:
- Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, iron and fiber, and helps promote healthy eyesight, oxygen usage, energy production and digestion. [Source: Jillian Michaels]
- One cup of canned pumpkin has only 83 calories and provides 7.1 grams of dietary fiber, which can help you control your weight. It can also be a part of a healthy diet to help control blood pressure. [Source: Is Canned Pumpkin Good for You?]
- Pumpkin can also help you meet the food recommendations that encourage healthy adults to consume at least 5.5 cups of red or orange vegetables per week. [Source: Is Canned Pumpkin Good for You?]
Who knew that this vibrantly colored vegetable served an even bigger purpose in life than just being served in pie form at Thanksgiving? What’s your favorite way to enjoy fresh or canned pumpkin?
HEALTHY PUMPKIN SMOOTHIE
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 ripe banana, medium
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup Vanilla Kefir
- 1/4 cup Silk Vanilla Almond Milk, Unsweetened (Use sweetened if you like your smoothies sweet.)
- 1/4 cup Coconut water (I use VitaCoco.)
- 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon Whole Ground Flaxseed meal (I use Bob’s Red Mill.)
- 4 coffee cubes
Step 1: Toss all ingredients in a blender and mix thoroughly. Enjoy!
Notes: I love Kefir and drink it daily. There are two brands that I prefer: Evolve and Lifeway. When using Kefir in in smoothies, I like to use the Evolve brand because it has a thinner consistency. However, when making ice cream, I prefer to use Lifeway because it’s thicker — see my Strawberry Kefir Ice Cream here.
Thanks for reading!