How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it: a simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

There are pepons, and there are potirons, and then there are pumpkins. A “pumpkin” is a big, round, orange variety of squash. They originated in Central America 1000s of years ago. Domesticated and hybridized by Indigenous Peoples, these squashes spread throughout the Americas. The First Nations of New England called them  askutasquash, which was shortened to ‘squash’ by the colonizers. Modern botanists call them Cucurbita maxima or C. moschata. In Europe there were no squashes, only gourds and melons, a Greek word for melon being ‘pepon.’ When round squashes were introduced into Europe, some people called them ‘pepon.’ Anne of Brittany‘s Book of Hours, from 1503, contains beautiful drawings of the new squashes. The French called them ‘ponpom’ then ‘potiron.’ The English called them ‘pumpions,’ which is pretty close to pumpkin. Once they were domesticated for eating, these squash turned out to be a wholesome food, high in Vitamins A and C, heart-healthy, and antioxidant. The other use for pumpkins in the Autumn in the US is for making Jack o’ Lanterns for Hallowe’en. That tradition started in Ireland with the hollowing out of turnips and potatoes to make a lantern for All Hallows’ Eve. Pumpkin Spice has taken the world by storm, being eagerly anticipated every Fall at coffee shops. There is no pumpkin in the spice — they are the spices that flavor a pumpkin pie. These spices give deliciousness to scones, cookies, pies and other desserts made of our favorite Fall Fruit: the Pumpkin. Eat some soon!

Many people think that pumpkin appears only as Jack o’ Lanterns and in pie at Thanksgiving. There are lots of fun ways to use this nutritious vegetable. Sugar Pumpkins are suitable for eating and that is [mostly] what is in canned pumpkin that one buys in the store. If you don’t trust the can, buy a Sugar Pumpkin and prepare your own puree. Our featured meals show how you can enjoy pumpkin at breakfast and dinner, without a pie in sight.

Pumpkin Oatmeal:  221 calories 3 g fat 5.6 g fiber 9.5 g protein 11.5 g carbs 106.4 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beverage.  PB GF  Cold weather brings a yen for hot cereal and you have to go a long way to beat oatmeal for an excellent breakfast. Now let’s add the season’s favorite flavor combo: pumpkin and cinnamon. Yum.

¼ c steel cut oats ¾ c. water pinch salt 2 Tbsp pumpkin puree 1 tsp maple syrup pinch cinnamon ¼ c. fat-free milk  Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water

Cook the oats and salt in simmering water 8-10 minutes, stirring at whiles. Take off heat. Stir in pumpkin, syrup, and cinnamon. Scrape into a bowl and top with milk. Serve with the hot beverage of your choice for a meal that will keep you warm on a cold day.

Pumpkin-Turkey Meatballs with Pasta Marinara: 298 calories 9 g fat 8 g fiber 15.5 g protein 43.5 g carbs 85 mg Calcium PB GF — if using GF pasta Here’s a new way to enjoy turkey and pumpkin — without roasting or baking! These meatballs are handy to have in the freezer for a quickly-prepared meal in future weeks. The recipe is from nutritionist Joy Bauer.

3 pumpkin-turkey meatballs

1/2 cup marinara sauce, homemade or purchased @ 59 calories/ half-cup 1 oz dry whole-grain pasta, homemade or purchased 1/2 c zucchini slices

Heat the marinara and the meatballs together while the pasta is cooking in boiling salted water. Cook the zucchini and plate it all.

38 meatballs Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
1⅓# ground turkey breast 2 c loosely packed spinach/ 1 c frozen 
15 oz can white beans = 9 oz ¾ cup 100% pumpkin puree
1 two-oz egg, slightly beaten 2 Tbsp unpacked brown sugar
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger ½ tsp garlic powder/ 1 clove minced ¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
Finely chop the fresh spinach to yield about 1 cup OR use frozen spinach: measuring 1 cup while frozen, then chop it.
Drain and rinse the beans or measure out 9 oz/26 g. Run beans through the food processor or immersion blender.
Mix together all these ingredients in a large bowl until everything is well combined and sticky. Do not over-mix. If mixture is too sticky to use, refrigerate ~30 mins to firm it up.
Form mixture into light, fluffy golf-ball-size meatballs, 38 total when using 1.5 Tbsp measure. 
Bake 40 mins in middle of oven. TIP: Could freeze at this point — either cooked or uncooked.

Ingredients for next week: Breakfast, single portion for Monday …………………………… single portion for Thursday:

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs  + eggplant
ricotta cheese + Parmesan cheesefresh tomatoes or canned sauce
prosciutto + wild mushroomsonion + herbes de Provence
pear or applepear
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

Dinner, single portion for Monday:………………………….. single portion for Thursday:

mussels + leekspotato + carrot + nutmeg
oat bran + whole milkonion + egg white
Welsh aged cheese or Cheddar3%-fat ground turkey
carrotrye bread + milk + grainy mustard
Sparkling waterSparkling water