It’s almost Halloween and many of us are preparing with costumes, decorations and pumpkin carving. Remember, when you’re carving your pumpkin don’t forget to save those pumpkin seeds, as they can be a delicious treat!
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of healthy fats and are packed with different vitamins and minerals. For ~85 seeds (plain), you get 5g of fat, 15g carbohydrates and 5g of protein. Pumpkin seeds can be purchased at the store year round, but this time of year with all the pumpkins around, you can make your own! To roast pumpkin seeds:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.
2. Rinse off seeds to remove any pumpkin remains.
3. Boil a pot of water with ~1 tsp salt. Add seeds and reduce to a simmer for ~10 minutes. *This step can be skipped, but does help break down seeds to make them easier to digest.
4. Drain and pat seeds dry.
5. Spread seeds on a greased baking pan and drizzle with oil if desired. Add seasonings as desired and mix.
6. Bake in the oven, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden and crispy.
The neat part about pumpkin seeds is that you can add different seasonings to spice things up! You can try a sweet combination by mixing cinnamon, cloves and ginger and tossing the seeds with it. You can also create savory/spicy seeds by mixing garlic powder, salt, cumin and cayenne (remember a little goes a long way with cayenne!). I like my pumpkin seeds just tossed with a little salt for an easy, but tasty snack. You can also roast the seeds of other vegetables like squashes. Give it a try!
A side note specific to surgical weight loss patients: Roasted pumpkin seeds can be hard to digest for some individuals. Be aware of this and make sure you are chewing well if you decide to try them. You should not try these until you have progressed to a regular diet and have tolerated other seeds first.
Katherine Horner, MS, RD, LD, NASM-CPT, CES
Surgical Weight Loss Dietitian & Exercise Specialist