By Kristen Hicks-Roof PhD, RDN, LDN, CLC and Marissa Schwam BS

It’s finally that time of the year again — leaves are falling, the weather is changing, and pumpkin spice is everywhere. What is it about pumpkin spice that makes everyone so excited this time of the year? Is it the pumpkin or is it the spice? 

Pumpkin is more than just a flavoring; pumpkins, among other winter squashes, are rich in vitamins and minerals that help boost our health through the cold months. Not only are pumpkins free of cholesterol and saturated fats, they have protein and fiber too. One cup of cooked pumpkin has 2g of protein, 3g of fiber and 245 percent of the RDI (Reference Daily Intake) for Vitamin A. Vitamin A is beneficial for eye health and can act as an antioxidant to help our immune system. Pumpkin also has copper, which helps maintain healthy bones, vitamin B12 for a burst of energy and vitamin E to promote healthy, radiant skin. There are so many reasons to include pumpkin in your holiday flavor profile. Although coffee is one way to fit pumpkin into the season, check out this pumpkin muffin recipe that is sure to pump up the holiday spirit at your next gathering.

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Pumped up Pumpkin Muffins 

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 large eggs
½ cup protein powder (optional)
1 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, line a muffin tin with 12 liners and spray with baking oil spray.  

Add oats, pumpkin, yogurt, eggs, protein powder, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda into a blender or bowl and mix until well combined.  

Pour batter into 12 sprayed muffin liners, about ¾ way full.

Bake muffins in preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes or when you stick a toothpick in the center and the toothpick comes out clean. 

Cool for 5 minutes and enjoy! 

Source: Recipe modified from

Kristen K. Hicks-Roof Ph.D., RDN, LDN is an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Brooks College of Health, University of North Florida.

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