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Take Control of Your Health During the Holidays!

The holidays are quickly approaching and we want to help you beat the bulge. The average person gains 1-5 pounds during the holidays! How can we combat that with an easy food substitute?!

Pumpkins are the perfect food to help keep your health on track. Pumpkins are full of vitamin A, potassium, zinc, and fiber. Vitamin A is an antioxidant which increases immune function and decreases risk of infection and cancer. Potassium can decrease blood pressure and reduce the risk for hypertension. Zinc boosts your immune system, which is helpful when heading into the cold months! Fiber helps regulate digestion and can help in preventing cancer and heart disease.

The flesh of a pumpkin has a mild, sweet flavor and the smaller ones tend to be more tender and juicy. You can cook the flesh as you would a winter squash.

Other ways to enjoy pumpkins:

  1. Cook mashed pumpkin with chicken broth, fat-free half-and-half, nutmeg, onion and other spices for pumpkin soup.

  2. Add fresh, cooked, or canned pumpkin to pancake batter.

  3. Make a pumpkin smoothie! Get creative. Stick some pumpkin, fat-free milk, and frozen vanilla yogurt in a blender and enjoy.

Of course it wouldn’t be the holidays without delicious pumpkin pie! This holiday try a healthier version of pumpkin pie. For the crust use whole-wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour and replace the butter with heart-healthy canola oil. For the pumpkin filling, use low-fat sweetened condensed milk instead of full-fat.

Hopefully these tips, using a healthier food option as a substitute in some favorite dishes, can help you stay on track and limit the holiday "bulk up".

By Dawn Weatherwax, RD,CSSD,LD,ATC,CSCS


Dawn Weatherwax is a Registered/Licensed Dietitian with a specialty in Sports Nutrition and Founder of Sports Nutrition 2Go. She is also a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, which is the premier professional sports nutrition credential in the United States. In addition, she is an Athletic Trainer with a Certification in Strength and Conditioning from The National Strength and Conditioning Association. Weatherwax brings a comprehensive and unique understanding of the athlete's body, and its nutritional needs, to those interested in achieving specific performance goals and optimal health. She is also the author of The Official Snack Guide for Beleaguered Sports Parents, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Sports Nutrition and The Sports Nutrition Guide for Young Athletes. She is an Official Speaker for the Gatorade Sports Science Institute and was on the approval speaker list for the NCAA. She has also been featured on television and magazines including: Good Morning America, MSNBC, Oxygen, Spark and Shape.


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