How to Enjoy Pumpkin Seeds as a Healthy Snack
Posted on Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 at 7:00 am
Fall includes several different kinds of snack foods and many of them are pumpkin flavored. That doesn’t always mean that all holiday snacks are healthy (or that the truly do contain pumpkin). One really healthy fall snack option is pumpkin seeds. The are easy to get, can be eaten either raw or cooked, and are a nutritious alternative to the other “pumpkin” snacks that are out there.
Pumpkin seeds are nutritious.
According to LiveStrong, a one ounce serving of pumpkin seeds has about 8.5 grams of protein. That means that a handful of pumpkin seeds provides 15% of the daily protein requirement for men and 18% of the daily protein requirement for women.
That same handful of pumpkin seeds is low carb. It contains only 4 grams of carbs, and about half of those carbs come from fiber. This is important because fiber helps people to feel full and it also aids digestion.
Believe it or not, pumpkin seeds also contain some fat. But, they are “good fats”. Pumpkin seeds have mono-saturated and poly-saturated fats, which are good for your heart. One thing to watch out for with pumpkin seeds is the calories they contain. A one ounce serving contains 163 calories. Keep that in mind if you include pumpkin seeds in a trail mix.
Where to find pumpkin seeds
It is possible to buy packages of uncooked pumpkin seeds at the grocery store. Sometimes, the bags will say “pepitas”, which is Spanish for “pumpkin seeds”. Make sure you read the food label. It is the easiest way to check and see what ingredients have been added to the pumpkin seeds. Ideally, you want to find a product that contains only pumpkin seeds and maybe a little bit of salt.
The best way to find pumpkin seeds is inside the pumpkins that are sold at the grocery store. This works great for families that like to carve their pumpkins. Typically, carved pumpkins are a Halloween decoration, but some people carve pumpkins as fall decorations.
Those who are unfamiliar with how to carve a pumpkin should check out the step-by-step guide at Simply Recipes. There are photos for each step in the process. They suggest using a colander to help separate the pumpkin seeds from the “goop”.
How to roast pumpkin seeds
Allrecipes has a really simple recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds. You need 1 and a half cups of raw whole pumpkin seeds. The recipe calls for 1 pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons of butter. (You could opt-out of the salt if you prefer).
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the pumpkin seeds into a bowl. Pour the melted butter (and salt) over them and shake them up. Next, place the seeds on a single layer baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes (or until they turn golden brown).