Pumpkin has many health benefits for people with diabetes and it is versatile as an ingredient in a number of recipes. With the festive season around the corner, we must ensure that we exercise moderation and continue to make the right food choices.
Before we look at a few recipes, let us take a little time to review some of the many health benefits of eating pumpkin.
Pumpkin is low in Calories and Nutrient-Rich
Pumpkin has very few calories (less than 50 per cup) but is chocked full of nutrients. Its’ water content is very high. This makes pumpkin a great food for us to add to our diet if we need to lose weight.
Fiber in Pumpkin and the Diabetes Link
So what is the connection between pumpkin and diabetes? Pumpkin is loaded with fibers and this one fact alone makes it a wonderful choice for diabetics. Please click and read this article to see why diabetics should eat fiber-rich foods.
Note that when we eat fiber-rich foods, then our appetite decreases and so we naturally will lose weight. I combine pumpkin with a little protein like chicken, fish or beans and the results are amazing. The protein and the extra fiber leaves me feeling full for a long time.
One (1) cup of pumpkin gives us about 3 grams of fiber. When I am eating only pumpkin and protein, I have two (2) cups to keep me feeling full and to provide the extra-needed fiber.
Low Calories and Excess Weight to Fight Diabetes
Foods low in calories will also help us to lose weight and to keep it off. Please remember that there is a connection between excess weight and diabetes. As soon as I put on an extra five (5) pounds, it shows in my blood sugar and my tendon gets very sore so that my leg hurts.
See more about weight and diabetes here at the Obesity Action Coalition website. Please click OAC now.
Antioxidants to Reduce the Risk of Chronic Diseases
In the human body, harmful bacteria are destroyed by what we call free radicals. These (free radicals which are molecules) are produced thanks to the metabolic processes in our bodies.
Oxidative stress is the result of too many free radicals in our bodies. This is an undesirable state which leads to chronic illnesses. Heat disease and cancer are two dreaded illnesses that are possible when there are excess free radicals.
Okay, so what is the connection with pumpkin? Yes, it contains beta-cryptoxanthin, beta-carotene, and alpha-carotene. These protect our cells by neutralizing free radicals. Pumpkin also helps to protect our skin and our eyes.
By now you are wondering if the recipes are coming. Yes, but I wanted to share with you some reasons why we should incorporate more pumpkin in our diet. Before we look at some recipes, click this link for more information.
Pumpkin Recipes for Diabetics and their Family
The recipe below will take a total of twenty minutes (10 to prep and 10 to cook). It will serve four (4) adults.
Pumpkin Omelet (Chinese Style)
What you will need:
- 2 cups pumpkin. Cut this into 2-inch pieces
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup chives. This will be about 1 small bunch, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cooking wine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds. This should be toasted. It will be used for the topping
- Soy sauce which will be used as the dip
- Beat the eggs and add the salt, ground pepper, and the cooking wine, stirring well.
- To the mixture, add the pumpkin and the chives. Mix well and set aside.
- Add the oil to a non-stick pan and distribute the oil evenly.
- Turn the burner on low or medium heat, dependent on how your stove works.
- Immediately, before the oil simmers, add the mixture into the pan, using a spatula to spread it evenly.
- Cook for five (5) minutes on one (1) side. Keep the lid on.
- Flip the omelet and cook for four (4) to five (5) minutes with the lid off.
- Add sesame seeds to the top.
- Serve this pumpkin omelet with soy sauce for dipping.
For me, the above recipe makes a wonderful breakfast which prevents my blood sugar from spiking as it is low in carbohydrate. It is also a great way to keep my weight down.
Did I mention that it was easy? I prep the chives and the pumpkin from overnight. Sometimes I add fresh seasoning (onions, scallion, scotch bonnet pepper) for a different taste.
What about a pumpkin pie? Okay, so you are worried about the crust and you are diabetic? No problem at all. Let’s do a pie without the crust.
Crustless Pumpkin Pie
What you will need:
- 1 can 100% pure pumpkin (15-ounce can. Do not use pumpkin pie filling).
- 12 ounces evaporated milk.
- 1 tablespoon butter. Soften the butter.
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar.
- 1/2 cup biscuit baking mix.
- 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
- A pinch of nutmeg.
- Coat a 9 or 10 inches pie plate with cooking spray.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Blend all the ingredients on high speed for one (1) minute.
- Pour the mixture into the pie plate.
- Bake for approximately 0ne (1) hour. To check if it is properly baked, insert a knife into the center of the pie and it should come out clean.
- Let it cool.
- Cover and chill for a minimum of 2 hours.
- Serve and enjoy.
I like to sprinkle a little cinnamon on top for taste and the fact that it helps to keep my blood sugar in the normal range. Feel free to indulge in a little whip cream on top, if, and only if your readings permit you to do so.
This pie could easily serve eight people. Diabetics could eat a little less, dependent on their numbers. I sometimes cut a slice of any cake and let it serve for two (2) days. This way I do not feel like I am missing out on anything, especially the foods that I love.
I absolutely love bread. Being diabetic means that I must pay attention to the types and quantity of bread I consume. Have I stopped eating bread? No, and I have no intention to stop.
I will share with you below a bread that I tried and love to eat. Yes, I do not have a spike in my blood sugar when I eat this delicious pumpkin bread. I still exercise caution, as I do with most things I consume. Moderation is the key.
This bread will take one (1) hour to cook and it will yield ten (10) servings/slices.
What you will need:
- 1 1/2 cup crushed, cooked pumpkin
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar or 1/4 cup agave (your choice)
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt (plain)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use cooking spray to coat a 10-inch loaf pan.
- In a suitable size bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Add pumpkin, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla and mix well.
- Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Combine by mixing well.
- Pour batter into the loaf pan.
- Bake for 60 to 65 minutes. When you insert a toothpick into the center it should come out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes.
- Place on a wire rack until it is completely cool.
- Serve and enjoy.
This bread can be served with eggs and a slice of bacon. It goes well as dinner served with chicken breast and some sauteed vegetables. It is moist and delicious.
- Raman, Ryan. “9 Impressive Health Benefits of Pumpkin.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 28 Aug. 2018, www.healthline.com/nutrition/pumpkin.
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