From snacking on fresh cider donuts, to picking fresh apples to going pumpkin picking to find the perfect pumpkins for carving, there are no shortage of fun things to do at an apple orchard.

Believe it or not, there are plenty of benefits to pumpkin picking, both for your health and as a source of fall fun.

Taking a child to go pumpkin picking at an orchard gives them a chance to learn and to grow. Giving a child the chance to roam and pick they’re own pumpkin instills in them a sense of pride and independence; that this is their pumpkin they picked out all by themselves. While they’re at the orchard pumpkin picking, the trip can also be used as a teachable moment where they can learn about pumpkins, animals and other things they see.

Above all, taking a trip to the orchard to go pumpkin picking gives a child a chance to get off their electronic devices and to spend some time out of the house.

While pumpkins can be fun for carving, there are also numerous benefits to making pumpkin a regular part of your diet.

  • Vitamins and Minerals: For starters, pumpkin is packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Pumpkin contains minerals such as potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin F, zinc and selenium. It also includes calcium and iron, which helps build strong bones and teeth and is good for blood cell function.
    If that wasn’t enough, pumpkin is basically fat-free and low in calories. A cup of drained, boiled pumpkin has just 49 calories and a very small amount of fat.
  • Fiber: It’s true that pumpkin is packed full of all the vitamins and minerals mentioned above, but it’s also a great source of fiber. A cup of canned pumpkin can have to five grams of fiber. That’s a great source to get it from, considering the average adult is recommended to consume at least 20g of fiber a day. Incorporating pumpkin into your diet can greatly improve your digestive system, helping to reduce constipation and intestinal inflammation among other things. Fiber can also reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes as well as reducing your risk of heart troubles by reducing your blood cholesterol level.
  • Seeds: If you’re into pumpkin picking and then pumpkin carving, odds are good you’re going to have plenty of seeds as you scoop out pumpkin guts. Saving the seeds gives you the chance to make pumpkin seeds, which can be a very nutritious snack. An ounce of pumpkin seeds contains just 125 calories and out 15g carbohydrate and 5g each of fat and protein.
    In addition to that, the oil found in pumpkin seeds has been found to help improve prostate health in men and it has several cardiovascular benefits, including helping to reduce blood pressure and blood cholesterol.
  • Versatility: Pumpkins have been grown in North America for 5,000 years and in that time, many uses have been found for pumpkin. It may 90 percent water, but there’s no limit to how you can incorporate pumpkin into your everyday eating habits.
    Of course you can do something traditional with pumpkin, such as baking a pumpkin pie, but you can also use it in breads and cakes. You can also get creative and make pumpkin soup, topped with pumpkin seeds on top. If you’re a fan of salad, try adding pumpkin seeds for some crunch.

Going pumpkin picking can be a great family activity as you spend the day at an apple orchard, taking in the sights, sounds and smells. It can be a fun learning experience for children too as they learn about pumpkins and about the independence that comes with picking out their very own pumpkin.

If you’re looking to go beyond pumpkin carving, try making pumpkin a regular part of your diet. It’s chock-full of essential vitamins and minerals, it can be used in a variety of different dishes and it’s incredibly healthy, helping to reduce your risk of heart-related problems and diabetes.