Who doesn't love a salty, crunchy treat? Pumpkin seeds are a healthy snack and a great source of magnesium and zinc (minerals we are commonly deficient in). They are also high in fiber and a great source of antioxidants. These little seeds also reduce inflammation, kill parasites, regulate blood sugar, improve prostate and bladder function, and reduce your risk of cancer. When choosing pumpkin seeds, it is important to pay attention to the salt content on the label. Always opt for low sodium pumpkin seeds and choose organic and/or raw for the most benefits. To prepare these seeds at home, scrape them out of a pumpkin, rinse, dry and then toss them in coconut oil and himalayan salt or sea salt. Roast in the oven in a parchment paper lined baking sheet at 350 degrees for 15-30 minutes, stirring often, until crunchy. You can get creative and add different toppings such as garlic powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, or everything bagel seasoning.
Chocolate is definitely a popular treat in the fall time (or anytime of the year really). but did you know that chocolate cravings can be a sign that you are deficient in magnesium? Not all chocolate is a health food, unfortunately. If you want to get the health benefits from chocolate, it is important to get the right kind. Be sure to choose dark chocolate that has a low sugar content, high percentage of cacao (85% or higher), fewest ingredients, and no preservatives or additives. Flavonals are the reason why chocolate is good for you - they improve cardiovascular health and improve nitric oxide production. The higher the cacao content of chocolate, the more flavanols it contains; however, you must avoid chocolate processed with alkali or dutched in order for the flavanols not to be destroyed.
While fall time beverages can taste yummy, they can easily cause unwanted weight gain due to the high amount of sugar they contain. In fact, Starbucks infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte contains (sit down for this one) a whopping 50 grams of sugar! That is equivalent to a quarter cup of sugar per drink! Now that I burst your bubble, I will tell you the good news - there are delicious alternatives without any sugar! There are several teas that contain plenty of delicious holiday flavors using herbs, spices and tea leaves that taste great on their own without any sugar. My personal favorites are Tazo Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea, Tazo Glazed Lemon Loaf (this one tastes like cake), Tazo Organic Baked Cinnamon Apple, and Numi Chocolate Pu-erh. If you insist on adding sweetener, opt for a bit of organic, local, raw honey or stevia instead of pure sugar. If you are craving something creamy, add coconut milk creamer. Craving a chai tea latte? Try Golden Milk instead! It contains the delicious chai flavors with turmeric for a yummy anti-inflammatory warm beverage. These options are not only beneficial for your health, they will also save you lots of money in the long run!