5 Pumpkin Goodies w/out Guilt

Healthy Pumpkin Goodies | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Ambitious Kitchen

Oh hi.. since it’s pumpkin season, I’ve been assaulted with a myriad of pumpkin-flavored or pumpkin-filled foods. By assaulted, I mean that in a masochistic, keep-it-coming sort of way. Pumpkin pie has always been my favorite since childhood – with the Cool Whip topping ratio being 1:1. As I’ve moved into adulthood and a healthier diet, I’ve been using my cheat days responsibly. I’ve got a nice little stash of recipes that are pretty darn healthy and are indulgent, too. Consequently- you’re bound to find one that fits your taste/ diet criteria.

Healthy pumpkin pudding recipe | Egg-free, dairy-free | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Against All Grain

Pumpkin Pudding {egg-free, dairy-free}

The main thing you need to consider when baking with pumpkin, is the sugar-quotient of pumpkin itself. Pumpkin is high on the glycemic index and 1 cup contains 3.2 grams of sugar, so it is especially relevant.  Make it the main sweet-factor in your recipe and you’ve got a goodie that you can feel good about as a result!  This pudding recipe is super quick and easy, but needs to chill for 6 hours.  It’s a great one to make ahead of time when you’ve got company coming and works as a pie filling as well!  Add ginger cookies and everyone goes home happy because ginger and the crunch are so complimentary.

5 Ingredients:
1 can full-fat coconut milk
3 teaspoons gelatin
1 ¼ cup pure pumpkin puree*
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

For the puree, try making your own fresh rather than using the stuff from the can. Check out Against All Grain for the complete pudding and puree recipe instructions.

Music Alert! Cooking is best with a soundtrack. Here is a great track by Der Badermeister. It’s got tin sounds that remind me of teaspoons and the like.
Press “Listen in Browser” to play immediately.
Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Bars | vegan and gluten-free | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Ambitious Kitchen

Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Bars {vegan and gluten-free}

These are a little higher on the sugar scale than I would like (9.2g per bar), but I am super pro-getting-my-carbs-via-oatmeal. Oatmeal sticks to your ribs, right? In addition to pumpkin, oatmeal is a great source of soluble fiber, calcium, and potassium. Since it helps lower cholesterol and reduces blood pressure, it is a healthy heart staple. Eating oatmeal helps control weight because it stabilizes your blood sugar (no crashes), boosts athletic performance, and more!  Also, try subbing 1/2 cup coconut sugar instead of the brown sugar to make it low-glycemic.

Vegan Ingredients:
3 cups gluten-free oats
2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling on top

Since I’m just giving ingredients here, get more information and baking instructions from Ambitious Kitchen.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread | Gluten-free, dairy-free | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Meaningful Eats

The Best Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread {maple-syrup sweetened, dairy-free}

At first glance, this recipe may seem like a hard-core gluten-free bread recipe, but it doesn’t have to be.  You can always substitute the flours with a store-bought gluten-free, all-purpose flour.   Because gluten-free breads usually lack some protein, there is an extra egg added to compensate. The result is an incredibly moist bread packed with fall spices, chocolate chips, and pumpkin flavor. Also, pumpkin contains almost twice the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. Consequently, you benefit from improved vision, healthy skin, teeth, and bones.

Dry Ingredients:
1/3 cup buckwheat groats
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup almond flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves

Wet Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla

Optional Mix-In:
1/2-2/3 cup chocolate chips, pecans, or walnuts

For more information and baking instructions, check out her full recipe on Meaningful Eats.  Another suggestion is to make Erin Collins’ flour blend to have on hand for future gluten-free recipes.  It’s a good one!

Healthy Pumpkin Snickers Bars | Vegan, gluten-free | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Emelie Eats

Healthy Pumpkin Snickers Bars {vegan & gluten-free}

Emelie is a college girl from Louisiana and shares my love for Snickers. First, these are 1,000 times better since they are so much healthier (using the sweetness of dates instead of sugar). Not to mention, adding pumpkin and chocolate just made this girl my new BFF!  I whipped these up in less than 15 minutes and they are also great for breakfast. Also, you can use peanuts to match the original candy bar, or any favorite nut. It seems like I always have walnuts on hand because they are the lowest in sugar and fun fact – bitterness actually counteracts sweet cravings! Walnuts and pecans are also an excellent source of seratonin. That makes these bars the feel-good staple for the Fall.

1/2 cup oat flour (ground-up rolled oats)
2 tablespoons pumpkin purée
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
1/4 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup peanuts, or other nut of choice
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Props to this girl for coming up with such a tasty and imaginative treat that keeps you on track health-wise. Get the full recipe instructions at Emelie Eats.

Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies | Low-sugar | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Leealicious

Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies {low-sugar, high-fiber}

Well, I’m still on an oatmeal trend and you might have noticed some of these recipes contain coconut oil. Coconut oil has been my latest find and it contains a unique composition of fatty acids.  Additionally, it is a quick and healthy source of energy, and helps with weight loss. I also recommend substituting the honey with coconut nectar, which is low glycemic. I love nuts and seeds, so the introduction of pumpkin seeds and flaxseed is awesome! Both seeds contain a wide variety of nutrients, boost your fiber intake, and are one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3s.

1/4 cup Spectrum® coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup honey
1 cup rolled old-fashioned oats
1 cup quick cooking oats
2/3 cup unsweetened, dried cranberries
2/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs, beaten

Furthermore, you can make these on a weekend and have them on hand throughout the week. Also, they’re perfect with a cup of coffee or on the go. Finally, for the baking instructions, visit Leelalicious.

Healthy pumpkin cookies | Low sugar | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Leelalicious

Make Them as Healthy as You Want

Hope you love at least one of these recipes!  They’re all pretty easy to doctor according to your tastes.  You can substitute the flours, oils, milks, however you want and will still have a pretty healthy treat when you’re done.  Let us know which one you like best in the comments below!  Any great substitutions?  Because we’d love to hear those as well!

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