Updated: October 10, 2012

I adore anything pumpkin – pumpkin bread, pumpkin pudding, pumpkin muffins and especially pumpkin pie, and when it comes to a food you really love, I do believe in indulging in the real thing and enjoying it on occasion. But with pumpkiny foods in season from September through January, it can be easy to get in over your head calorie wise.

One slice of pumpkin pie packs about 300 calories and a typical sized muffin is filled with well over 500. That means to burn off one wedge of pie or about half a muffin, I'd have to put in an extra hour on the treadmill at 4 mph. So, in between indulgences, I rely on some calorie slashed stand-ins. Here's my favorite. I call it "Liquid Pumpkin Pie:"

  • One half cup canned 100% pumpkin (the only ingredient is pumpkin)
  • Three quarters cup vanilla soy milk (or organic skim milk with a half tsp pure vanilla extract)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spices (a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice)
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 7-8 ice cubes

You can easily get two servings from this recipe (it'll easily fill a pint glass) but the whole thing is just 165 calories, and it's filling. A half cup of pumpkin provides 5 grams of dietary fiber (about 20% of the daily goal) and the protein from the milk will keep you satiated.

Try it for breakfast or as a snack or dessert. Bonus: it's overflowing with beta-carotene, the plant form of vitamin A, which is a major anti-aging antioxidant that keeps your skin looking gorgeous and gives your immune system a major boost.

P.S. Did you know:

-The largest pumpkin ever grown was 1,725 lb

-Illinois produces more pumpkins than any other state

-The pumpkin is the state fruit of New Hampshire (yup, it's technically a fruit)



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