On Your Health

Check back to the INTEGRIS On Your Health blog for the latest health and wellness news for all Oklahomans.

Going Pumpkin Crazy!

From the looks of many a front porch these days, our widespread, years-long pumpkin love seems undiminished. Just after back-to-school commercials end in August, many Oklahomans start to indulge in all that fall has to offer. This means lighting spice-scented candles, snuggling under warm throws, raking leaves, watching college football, and most of all? Pumpkin EVERYTHING!

In this On Your Health blog post, we’re covering pumpkin patches, pumpkin carving, pumpkin nutrition and pumpkin recipes — in other words, it's all pumpkin, all the time here in OKC.

The (arguably) biggest pumpkins in OKC

The Plant Stand OKC offers regionally grown pumpkins in the Midtown district of Oklahoma City.  The same area that brings you Industry Flea and holiday pop-up shops also houses fantastic pumpkins for you to grab (See those beauties below? They are called Big Macks, and they have them at The Plant Stand) without making a trip to a pumpkin patch.

pumpkins from the plant stand okc

Owners Jared and Kaleigh Bishop have been bringing pumpkins to Midtown for the last four years. “We sell the biggest pumpkins in town – that’s what everyone tells us,” Jared says. “We get our pumpkins from Texas and Oklahoma and receive a fresh shipment every week, typically on Monday or Tuesday.” Here you will also find a large assortment of gourds, corn and hay bales to decorate your home.

Local OKC pumpkin patches

Oklahoma has plenty of pumpkin patches for families to spend the day immersed in fall goodness. Enjoy picking pumpkins, hayrides, mazes and more from these popular pumpkin patches located close to the OKC metro area. 

If you’re looking for more fun fall activities to do with your family, read our blog post Healthy Fall Events in OKC or our guide to Halloween Events in OKC.

How to pick the best pumpkin for carving

Planning on doing some carving? Here are things to look for to choose the best pumpkin for the job.

  • You can tell a healthy pumpkin by picking it up, making sure it is sturdy and flat on the bottom.
  • If you thump it, it should sound hollow.
  • Look out for bad spots like bruising and discolorations.
  • Try flipping the pumpkin up-side-down and apply pressure – it should have no give and feel sturdy. This helps ensure your pumpkin will last longer after carving.

boy with a large pumpkin

The health benefits of pumpkins

While we surround ourselves with pumpkins for play, eating pumpkins can also be on your fall check-list. Pumpkins are part of the squash family and pack a nutritious punch in your diet.

Pumpkin is rich in nutrients like vitamin C and E, fiber and antioxidants, including beta-carotene and other carotenoids. The vitamins in pumpkin improve the health of your skin while the fiber keeps you full and satisfied longer, helping to improve weight loss. Beta-carotene is good for detoxifying your liver and promoting good eye health.

Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are super nutritious and are a great snack while carving pumpkins. Pumpkin seeds are full of vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin K, iron, protein, zinc and magnesium. Try boiling them and then toasting them with your favorite seasonings.

Healthy versions of your favorite pumpkin foods

Now that you know pumpkin is so nutritious, try these three healthier pumpkin recipes. You'll get all the taste with half the calories. (Click here for a printable copy).

Homemade pumpkin spice latte

At Starbucks, a 16-ounce Grande made with two-percent milk and topped with whipped cream will run you 380 calories. Each pump of pumpkin spice syrup adds around 30 calories and 7.5 grams of sugar. So, why not make one at home and save yourself calories and money?

pumpkin spice latte recipe

Low-fat pumpkin bread with pepitas

A typical pumpkin bread will run you 410 calories per slice with 15 grams of total fat. We’ve found a healthier version for you that is low in fat and only 103 calories per half-inch thick slice without making the bread dry. Bonus: your house will be filled with lovely pumpkin spice aromas while it’s baking.

pumpkin bread recipe

Whole-wheat pumpkin cookies

With the flavors of fall, pumpkin cookies are a popular treat this season. With just a few adjustments to your normal pumpkin cookie recipe, you can enjoy a much healthier version. Instead of regular flour, this recipe substitutes whole wheat pastry flour. Also, by skipping the icing on the cookies and dusting them with powdered sugar instead, this helps cut calories.

whole wheat pumpkin cookies