My kids and I often snack on pumpkin seeds or otherwise known as pepitas. Don’t be fooled by their small apparence as they are packed with nutritional value. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium, zinc for immune support, omega-3 fats and are rich in healthy fats, antioxidants and fibers that may provide benefits for heart and liver health. Did you know that approximately 2 tablespoons (28 grams) of unshelled roasted pumpkin seeds contains 15 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of protein, 5 percent of your daily iron needs and absolutely no sugar. These numbers increase when pumpkin seeds are roasted making them more nutrient dense providing 163 calories, 8 grams of protein and 8 percent of daily iron needs for the same 28 gram serving.
Incorporating pumpkin seeds into your diet can be easily done by adding them to salads, homemade granola, making pumpkin seed butter (similar to peanut butter) by blending the seeds in a food processor and adding oil and some salt or other spices.
In the beginning when I offered my kids pumpkin seeds they really didn’t like them much. In a bid to get my kids eating pumpkin seeds I would roast them adding a bit of sweetener and cinnamon. I remember when I first made this, the smell from the oven was so inviting that they both kept asking what I was baking. This was the beginning of how I enticed my children to enjoy these little green seeds. Each time I would make a batch I would decrease the sweetener until I simply didn’t add any to it anymore. Now we enjoy them raw, roasted, in salads or granola and they are an easy snack to pack for when kids are at school. I share with you my recipe that won my kids over and hope that your kids will enjoy it too.
Roasted Cinnamon Pumpkin Seeds
2 cups hulled pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoon virgin coconut oil
2 tablespoons raw honey, coconut nectar, maple syrup or rice malt syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 cup water
Preheat oven to 180C. Place the pepitas in a container with lid. Blend together the honey and water and pour over the pepitas. Close the container and shake well until pepitas are moistened. Add cinnamon and mix again.
Place mixture on a large non-stick baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes. Cool down when ready and enjoy!