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October 21, 2022

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice: Fall Recipes For Healthy Eyes

You can’t have Fall without pumpkins, right?

Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin scented candles, pumpkin pie, pumpkin decor, pumpkin patches, pumpkin soup, you name it. What you might not realize, however, is how beneficial pumpkin is for your eye health. Pumpkin is asuperfood containing vitamins A, C and E, zinc, fiber, lutein and zeaxanthin, all of which are strongly associated with healthy eyesight. Vitamin C decreases the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Lutein and zeaxanthin are both antioxidants that act like UV blockers for your eyes and help protect against eye disease. Zinc is a mineral that keeps your retinas healthy and protects the cells in your eyes against damage from free radicals. Last but not least, vitamin A protects your cornea and aids in your ability to see in low-light conditions. One study by the Age-Related Eye Disease studies (AREDS) showed that those at high risk for AMD could slow the progression of advanced AMD by about 25% and visual acuity loss by 19% by getting 40-80 mg/day of zinc as well as certain antioxidants (all found guessed it...PUMPKIN)! Although you can opt for vitamin supplements instead, they do not replace good nutrition. It’s time to kiss fast food goodbye and say hello to the kitchen in the name of good eye health! Here are some delicious fall recipes that will make your stomach AND your eyes happy.

Pumpkin Oat Cookies 

Pumpkin Spice Cookies for Eye Health


2.5 cups rolled or quick oats

1 cup pure pumpkin puree

2-3 tbsp maple syrup, agave or coconut sugar

1 tsp pumpkin spice or cinnamon (optional)

⅓ cup dairy-free chocolate chips (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Start with 2 tbsp of sweetener and adjust as desired. Use your hands to create 12 cookie shapes. The cookies will NOT spread during baking, so create desired shape before you bake. Prepare a baking pan with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes. 

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal for Eye Health


Cooking spray, butter or coconut oil (for coating the slow cooker)

1 cup steel-cut oats

2 ½ cups water

1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk

1 cup pumpkin

3 tablespoons maple syrup 

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

Directions: Add all the ingredients into your slow cooker and mix well. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Before serving, stir the oats and top with pecans, maple syrup and almond milk.

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

Pumpkin Spice Bread for Eye Health


3 eggs, lightly beaten

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

1 15 oz can of pumpkin

½ cup vegetable oil

1 tbsp vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

⅔ tsp salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

⅓ tsp ground cloves or allspice (optional)

1.5 cups shredded zucchini

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two loaf pans. Combine oil and sugar in a large bowl. Add pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla and mix well. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and gradually mix them into pumpkin mixture. Fold in zucchini. Bake for 40-50 minutes. 

Easy Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin Spice Chili for Eye Health


2 tbsp olive oil

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

1 green pepper, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb ground turkey

1 15 oz can pumpkin puree

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes

1 6 oz can tomato paste

2 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper 

Pinch of cayenne (optional)

3 cups chicken broth

Directions: Heat large saucepan and add olive oil. Add onion, jalapeno, and pepper and let saute for a few minutes until slightly soft. Add in garlic and let cook for one more minute. Add in ground turkey, breaking it up and cooking until no longer pink. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in your pumpkin, beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix all spices in a little bowl and add into your chili mixture. Pour in 3 cups of chicken broth and let simmer for one hour over low heat. Serve with cheese, greek yogurt, jalapenos, or any toppings you desire. 

Not a fan of pumpkin?

If you don’t like pumpkin,THERE’S THE DOOR never fear! There are many other Fall-inspired food options that can help improve and protect your eyes! Butternut squash, sweet potato and carrot soup, leafy greens, and turkey are all loaded with eye-healthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Think Autumn kale salad with fennel, honeycrisp and goat cheese and caramelized butternut squash. Or garlic parmesan roasted carrots, sweet potato casserole and a roast turkey coated with garlic herb butter. Is your mouth watering by now? It should be! Don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen in the name of good eye health! 

Need to get your eyes checked?Schedule an appointmenttoday (and bring some cookies while you’re at it).