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  • Theresa Gentile

Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Updated: Sep 25, 2019



These “cookies” are healthy enough to have for breakfast. Have them on the way to school, throw them in the kids’ lunchboxes or enjoy them with a cup of coffee on a lazy weekend morning.


I don’t know about you, but this time of year always seems to have the smell and feel of sharpened pencils and brand new notebooks – even more so, now that I have kids. I’m a summer baby at heart, but I love the change of seasons in NY and fall is quickly approaching. (I mean, c’mon, all the coffee shops are already serving pumpkin lattes, so it must be fall.)


I dare to call these little bites of baked goodness, “cookies”, because, of course, cookies have the connotation of being “unhealthy” which implies other nutrition behaviors, which we wrongfully shun when we don’t eat intuitively……..but I digress.


Miriam Webster defines a cookie as a “sweet baked food that is usually small, flat and round and is made from flour and sugar”. So, I suppose these are “cookies”. Of course I call them cookies to give them the extra anticipation of deliciousness for my kids. But even with slashing the sugar, a little banana gives these pumpkin cookies natural sweetness, along with a few chocolate chips sprinkled throughout.


I cut the flour in the base and substituted oatmeal for extra more fiber.

My family ate these pumpkin cookies right up when they came out of the oven. There were definitely better right out of the oven, but the 2 cookies that were left over went into the kids’ lunchboxes and were gobbled up.


Because I love food and learning about food’s origins, I find the origin and nutrition of pumpkins quite interesting.


Pumpkin Origins


Pumpkin may creep up in artificial flavor form in the fall, but there was a time when Americans consumed them more in their natural form. Pumpkins were a staple in Native Americans’ and early colonists’ diets. Pumpkins are believed to have originated in Mexico. There have been seeds from related plants found in Mexico in 7000 to 5500 B.C. (And the name, pumpkin, originated from the Greek word “pepon”, which is “large melon”.)


In today’s Mexican markets, though, there aren’t Jack-o’-lantern varieties (which are used more for carving than eating). In Mexico, you’ll find Calabaza, which are bulbous or round, being or green-striped and with crooked necks.


Pumpkin Nutrition


Pumpkin, fresh or canned, is superbly nutritious, packed with fiber, potassium, vitamin K, beta carotene and iron. I’ll focus on canned pumpkin since it’s more user-friendly.

The fact that canned pumpkin has a high water content, keeps the calories low, and fills you up more. It is also a low sodium food.

According to the USDA, ½ cup canned pumpkin contains:

Calories: 40

Total fat: 0

Sodium: 5mg

Total Carbohydrates: 10g

Dietary Fiber: 4g

Sugar: 4g

Protein: 1g

Vitamin A: 380%

Vitamin C: 8%

Calcium: 4%

Iron: 10%


This makes pumpkin a real nutrient dense food. It is high in fiber, keeping you fuller longer and helps to keep blood sugar levels stable. It has 4 grams of fiber per ½ cup, which is more than a medium sized banana.

The high beta-carotene content (which turns into Vitamin A in the body) is a powerful antioxidant. This may help boost our immunity and protect your skin from UV rays, warding off wrinkles.


Web MD suggests making an all-natural face mask with pumpkin. Take 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie), an egg, a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of milk. Mix, then apply it, wait for 20 minutes or so and wash it off with warm water.


Pumpkin’s low calorie content makes it perfect for mixing in with other ingredients in a recipe to really boost the nutrition….like these pumpkin oatmeal cookies.



Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies


Makes about 13 cookies


Ingredients:

½ can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie)

½ banana, mashed

½ cup flour

1 ½ cups whole oats

4 Tbsp coconut oil (or canola/vegetable)

3 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp vanilla

¼ cup chocolate chips


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl (flour, oats, pumpkin pie spice).

Mix wet ingredients in another small bowl (pumpkin, banana, coconut oil, vanilla maple syrup).

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.

Mix until just combined.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop on greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until slightly browned.


Nutrition:

Per cookie:

Calories: 100

Carbohydrates: 11 g

Sugar: 6.7 g

Fat: 6 g

Protein: 1.2 g



Did you make them?? Tell me how they came out!