As more and more people are focusing on getting healthier, the keto diet been making rounds. The keto diet is a low carb diet that is popular for rapid weight loss. It’s a low carb diet meaning that you can only have 20 net carbs a day.
But carbs are in just about everything including fruits! So, does that mean you can’t eat fruits on keto? And now that fall is here, you may be wondering: is pumpkin keto? We have some good news! Yes, pumpkin is keto.
What is Pumpkin?
A pumpkin is a botanical berry that is round, smooth and has a slightly ribbed skin. The shell is thick, and the pulp contains edible seeds known as pumpkin seeds. Pumpkins are often deep yellow or orange in color.
The cultivation of pumpkins dates to 7000 to 5,500 BC in Native and North America. To date, pumpkin pies are a traditional part of thanksgiving in Canada and the United States.
Moreover, well after pumpkins had been introduced to Europe, the classic Disney film Cinderella featured a pumpkin carriage in 1697. Interestingly, after the release of the film, the pumpkin earned a new name, the Cinderella pumpkin and name is still popularly used in the United States.
Pumpkins have also long been associated with the folklore of Stingy Jack. Jack pulled one over the devil. After his passing, Jack was punished to walk the earth for eternity. In Ireland people would make scary faces on turnips to ward off Jack’s wandering soul.
However, after migrating to the U.S., the Irish would carve faces into pumpkins with a candle inserted inside. The hollowed out pumpkin lanterns, also known as jack-o’-lanterns soon became an American custom for Halloween.
Pumpkins are delicious and sweet fruits with a deep orange flesh that makes it a perfect addition to your fall table. Did you know? There are 22 different types of pumpkins. Pumpkins are a versatile fruit that can be boiled, roasted, or even steamed.
Moreover, they can be used for making baked goods such as pies, purees, and soups. You can even use their seeds! Pumpkin seeds contain a good amount nutrients and make a delicious snack. Below are a few ways you can eat pumpkins:
- Pumpkin puree: Pumpkin puree can be made from a variety of pumpkins, but the pumpkin that is best suited for purees is the one used for jack-o’-lanterns.
- Salads: pumpkins make a delicious addition to your salad recipes. You can either use pumpkins, squash or pumpkin seeds and add a bit of lentils and goat cheese for a protein and fat kick to your keto salad.
- Baked goods: pumpkins can be used to make a pumpkin pie, cheesecake, pancakes, and custard. You can also stuff the pumpkin with bread, cheese, garlic, and heavy cream and bake it until its creamy. Delish!
- Stir fry it with a meat of your choice: stir frying pumpkins with either chicken or beef is the easiest and most delicious recipe if you’re craving pumpkins.
- Pumpkin seeds snack: Simmer the pumpkin seeds in salt water and roast them with spices. Viola, you have a delicious fall snack!
Pumpkin: Nutritional Profile
Pumpkins are rich in nutrients and are loaded with beta carotene which the body converts to Vitamin A. Vitamin A is great for healthy skin, vision, and the immune system. Pumpkins get their rich orange color from the same Vitamin A compound.
In addition, pumpkins are also high in fiber which will help in maintaining a healthy weight and keeping digestion regular. Half a cup of pumpkin contains 6% of your total fiber needs in a day. Pumpkins are also rich in B vitamins, Copper, Potassium and Vitamin E. Half a cup of pumpkin puree contains:
• Calories: 25
• Carbs: 6 grams
• Fiber: 1.5 grams
• Protein: 1 gram
• Vitamin A: 123% RDI
• Vitamin C: 10% RDI
Why is Pumpkin a Good Option for Low-carb Diets?
There are 6 grams of carbs in ½ a cup of pumpkin. Thus, the fruit can easily be included on a low-carb keto diet. The keto diet restricts you to 20 to 30 grams per day and most recipes with pumpkin purees contain half a cup or one cup at most.
Whereas each serving would contain one or two tablespoons, meaning the carbs are not much. Similarly, the fruit itself is also low in carbs and high in fiber compared to other fruits that should be avoided on a keto diet.
Although pumpkins are keto-friendly, you can only consume a small portion of pumpkins on a keto diet to stay within the net carbs limit. Calculate the net carbs of pumpkin in a serving by subtracting the fiber. For example, if a cup of pumpkin has 7.5 grams of carbohydrates and 0.6 grams of fiber, a cup of pumpkin will contain 6.9 grams of net carbs.
If you’re buying canned options, then read the label to make sure the ingredients don’t have any added sugars. A can of pumpkin typically has 7 grams of net carbs.
So, while pumpkins look good when compared to other starchy foods such as potatoes and corn, how its prepared can make it less keto-friendly.
Keto-friendly pumpkin recipes
Keto pumpkin pie (8 servings, net carbs: 5 grams per serving)
Can of unsweetened pumpkin puree or fresh pumpkin puree 15 oz
Large Eggs x2
Heavy Cream 1 cup
Keto Sweetener 2/3 cup
Spice Mix 1 ½ tsp
Salt ½ tsp
Vanilla Extract ½ tsp
For the crust:
Extra fine Almond Flour 2 cups
Coconut Flour 2 tbsp
Granulated Sweetener 2 tbsp
Salt ¼ tsp
Xanthan Gum ¼ tsp
Melted Butter 4 tbsp
Large Egg x1
- Make the crust by mixing melted butter and all other ingredients in a large mixing bowl. The dough will be dry and crusty at first but keep kneading it until the dough holds together without cracks. Chill the crust in the fridge for 15 minutes for easier handling.
- Flatten the dough with the palm of your hand and roll it out on a pie dish. For an easier transfer you can roll the dough on butter paper.
- After lining up the pie pan with dough, bake it for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
- As the pie bakes, mix the filling and pour it into the baked crust. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
Pumpkin Spice Keto Cheesecake
Almond Flour 2 cups
Butter 1/3 cups
Wondrose Sugar Replacer (hydrated with 1 tsp water) 4 tsp
Coconut Oil 1 tbsp
Pumpkin Spice 1 tsp
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
Salt ¼ tsp
Softened Cream Cheese 24 oz
Pumpkin Puree 1 cup
Wondrose Sugar Replacer (hydrated with 1/4 cup water) 1 cup
Pumpkin Spice 1 tsp
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
Cinnamon ½ tsp
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the crust inside a 9-inch pan and bake until the crust becomes golden brown, it usually takes around 10 to 15 minutes.
- While the crust bakes, you can make the filling by combining all the ingredients in a large bowl either using a spatula or beater.
- Let the crust cool for 10 minutes and add the filling. Leave it to bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. To check whether the cheesecake has set, jiggle it. Gently shake the cheesecake using oven mittens. Only a small circle in the center will jiggle when it’s done.
- Let the baked cheesecake cool down for a bit and refrigerate for 4 hours or till it’s completely set.
- Enjoy with whipped cream or sugar free pancake syrup!
Keto Pumpkin Pancakes
Keto and Co’s Pancake Mix ½ cup
Large eggs x3
Nut Milk or Water 2 tbsp
Oil 1 tbsp
Pumpkin Puree ½ cup
Cinnamon 1 tsp
Ground Ginger ¼ tsp
Nutmeg ¼ tsp
Allspice ¼ tsp
- Mix pumpkin oil, nut milk and eggs in a bowl.
- Add a half cup of pancake mix and the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Let it sit for 30 seconds.
- Pour ¼ cup on to a greased and non-stick pan for each pancake. Cook on medium-low heat.
- Flip the pancake when bubbles have formed throughout the top edge of the pancake.
- Cook until golden brown.
Creamy Pumpkin Soup
1 can pumpkin puree (15oz) Pumpkin Puree (15oz) 1 can
Chicken Broth 4 cups
Salt 1 tsp
Pepper ½ tsp
Garlic powder ½ tsp
Thyme ½ tsp
Red Pepper Flakes ¼ tsp
Heavy Cream ½ cup
- In a medium saucepan stir together the ingredients on a medium-high flame. Bring the soup to boil and let it simmer for a good 15 minutes.
- Turn the burner off, add the heavy cream to keep the cream from curdling and mix. You can add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve with 1/4 cup sour cream and 2 tbsp roasted, salted, pumpkin seeds.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Other than its delicious taste, pumpkins have several nutritional and health benefits.
Rich in vitamin and minerals
Pumpkins are low on calories and contain healthy vitamins and minerals. It also features high levels of beta carotene which the body changes to Vitamin A. Vitamin A is great for the heart, lungs, and other organs to work properly.
High in antioxidants
Studies have shown that pumpkins are high in antioxidants that prevent the body from chronic illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.
Pumpkins are rich in alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin that reduce the excessive free radicals in the body and stop them from damaging the cells in your body. It also protects the skin from sun damage and lowers the risk of eye diseases. However, there is a dearth of studies support this.
Pumpkins are rich in nutrients that are great for healthy skin. For example, beta-carotene that your body turns into Vitamin A. Studies have shown that beta-carotene has similar properties to sunblock and prevents the skin from taking damage.
The fruit is also high in Vitamin C which is great for preventing hyperpigmentation and keeping the skin healthy. Vitamin C also reverses damage caused by the free radicals of the sun.
Moreover, pumpkins also contain lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E that boost the skin’s defense against the harmful UV rays.
Lowers the risk of cancer
Pumpkin is rich in carotenoids that function as antioxidants and neutralize the free radicals, protecting against certain cancer. A study showed that the carotenoids found in pumpkin reduce the risk of stomach cancer.
According to another study, the carotenoids also lower the risk of throat, breast, pancreatic and other cancers.
Promotes good heart health
Pumpkins are rich in a variety of nutrients and minerals including potassium. Studies have shown that a high intake of potassium lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of strokes. Pumpkins are also high in antioxidants that prevent bad cholesterol from oxidizing.
When bad cholesterol oxidizes it can lodge against the walls of blood vessels, restrict blood flow and increase the risk of heart disease. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are the two main contributors of heart disease. Thus, pumpkins have been linked to heart health benefits.
Pumpkin pies and pumpkin spiced lattes are the hallmark of fall! But being on a keto diet means that there are many fruits that you can’t eat. Fortunately, if you were wondering whether is pumpkin keto? You'll be happy to know that pumpkin is completely keto friendly!
You can whip up ingredients from your pantry and make low-carb, keto-friendly pumpkin recipes to enjoy the pumpkin season to the fullest. The recipes are simple and so, so delicious!