Published on October 29, 2019

bowl of pumpkin oatmeal

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

A common road block for many people is the idea that “eating healthy is so expensive.”

The truth is, incorporating smarter eating habits does not have to break the bank. One tip I encourage patients to consider when pursuing the produce aisle is to “shop in season.” With the crisp fall weather upon us, a few in-season vegetables and fruits to consider are acorn and butternut squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and apples.

Health Benefits of Fall/Winter Squash

Orange vegetables such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut and acorn squash contain beta carotene. Through a series of chemical reactions your body converts beta carotene into vitamin A.

According to a 2019 University of Rochester Medical Center study, the main health benefits of these orange veggies include:

  • Antioxidant power which may help reduce free radical damage in body.
  • Improved health of eyes, skin and immune function.
  • May reduce risk of prostate cancer, heart disease and stroke.

As a registered dietitian, I recommend eating a wide variety of different fruits and vegetables to optimize the nutrition quality of a person’s overall diet. Fruits and vegetables are also excellent sources of fiber and contain a variety of different vitamins and minerals.

Here are some easy ways to incorporate these “fall favorites” into your diet:

  • Enjoy a quarter-cup of canned pumpkin with oatmeal and cinnamon.
  • Slice some cooked sweet potatoes and add them to chili or tacos for added fiber and an antioxidant kick.
  • Roast acorn squash with a drizzle of olive oil, cinnamon and a pinch of brown sugar for a sweet, nutritious side.

Don’t waste the seeds! Keep acorn, butternut squash and pumpkin seeds; these seeds can be roasted in an oven with a pinch of salt and olive oil for 30 minutes at 325 degrees. They are a perfect protein, fiber packed treat.

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Oatmeal

Makes one serving


  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ tablespoon of pecans, almonds or walnuts
  • Pinch of cinnamon and brown sugar 


  1. Mix milk, oats, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, salt, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg together in a 4-quart microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Cook on high for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring once.
  3. Sprinkle brown sugar and pecan pieces over the oatmeal to serve.

Nutrition Facts: Approx. 337 calories; 10 grams fat; 51 grams carbohydrates; 14 grams protein; 17 milligrams cholesterol.

Adapted from a recipe at

By Corrinna Lenort, RD, LN, LMNT, MPH, Registered Dietitian at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital

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