Now that Halloween is approaching, I thought I’d give pumpkin seeds the attention they deserve. When I was a kid, we sometimes used to scoop out the stringy flesh of our Halloween pumpkins, rinse the seeds and toast them in the oven. I think the act of making a “snack” out of the seeds was far more exciting than actually eating them for some reason. But a few years ago, when my local grocery store started carrying roasted, flavored pumpkin seeds, they immediately became a staple in my pantry. They have numerous health benefits due to their high content of
· Protein: 10 grams of plant-based protein in a quarter cup!
· Magnesium: almost half the Recommended Daily Allowance
· Zinc: one ounce has over 2 mg of this mineral that many people are deficient in
· Fiber, if eaten in their shells (for those of you who really like some serious crunching!)
The ancient Aztecs who munched on seeds were on to something! Pumpkin seeds also don’t require refrigeration, which makes them extremely well suited for lunchboxes, airplane snacks and camping trips. With cold and flu season here, pumpkin seeds are a great way to boost your immune system. Zinc also helps with sleep, acne and mood. Keep a jar on the kitchen table so kids can take a handful when they are doing homework or returning from after school activities. Experiment with various flavors as a nut-free way to get some crunch into salads. Try adding plain, raw dried seeds to yogurt, granola bars, trail mix and oatmeal. Share your favorite ideas with our readers.