Pumpkin-spice up your life
The season of pumpkin spiced-everything is upon us! A mashup of pumpkin, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg—pumpkin spice is a great way to add warm, cozy flavor to all kinds of dishes. And, while many PSL treats tend to be loaded with added sugar or fat, there are ways you can enjoy it that fit in perfectly with Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, called Food Optimizing. Here’s how to enjoy this favorite fall flavor and keep your weight loss on track…
Pump(kin) it up
Though we tend to think of pumpkin spice as a flavor, go straight to the source to capture all the goodness and nutrients of pumpkin. Whether you buy canned 100% pure pumpkin (not pie filling) or cook it yourself, pumpkin is a Free Food with Food Optimizing, meaning you can eat as much as you like until you’re satisfied. Add pumpkin purée to everything from savory pasta dishes, like this skillet spinach and cheese lasagna, to morning oatmeal, for a sweet, creamy taste of fall.
If you’d like to cook your own pumpkin, look for small ones labeled “sugar pumpkin” or “pie pumpkin”, which tend to be sweeter and more flavorful than the jack-o’-lantern type. For a simple side dish, halve a pumpkin and scrape out the seeds and strands, then roast cut-side down at 400ºF for 35 minutes. When cool, scoop out the flesh before trying one of these serving options: Combine it with plain fat-free Greek-style yogurt and a dash of ground cinnamon for an alternative to mashed potatoes, roughly chop and add to a hearty chili, or cube and add to stew. In a hurry? Look for raw cubed pumpkin at the grocery store for an easy shortcut on prep and cook time.
Spice it up
To put that sweet warmth to work in your own dishes, look for pre-made pumpkin spice at the store, or DIY it! Combine 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, and 1½ teaspoons ground cloves, then store in a sealed glass jar. Add a pinch to coffee grounds for a simple take on a pumpkin-spice latte, mix it into a spice rub for lean steak, or stir it into a batch of overnight oats.
You can also break pumpkin spice down and put the individual spices in recipes. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon to dishes like this Moroccan beef stew with couscous, or Mexican-spiced pork stew with poblanos and sweet potatoes.
Whichever way you dice your pumpkin and shake your spice, you’ll be on your way to a slimmer fall in no time!