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Published on October 17, 2014

It’s the Great Pumpkin

10/17/14Kids with pumpkins

Pumpkins are more than just colorful decorations. Once autumn’s most precious, nutritional treasures, pumpkins are fast becoming the superhero of super foods.

From their thick skin to their eye-popping color, pumpkins are fruits in the same family as gourds and squash—and one of the most nutritionally valuable foods you can eat. Low in calories and full of disease-fighting nutrients, essential fatty acids and fiber, the health-enhancing qualities and immune-boosting powers of pumpkin shine brighter than any jack-o-lantern ever could.

A natural source of both alpha and beta-carotene, pumpkin can help prevent or alleviate certain conditions, such as cancer, kidney stones, enlargement of the prostate gland, depression, cataracts and skin damage from the sun. In addition to nutritional accolades, pumpkin also packs potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent cholesterol buildup in blood vessels that could lead to cardiovascular disease or stroke.

Go Big Orange!

Pumpkins come in all shapes and shades of orange. While field pumpkins are made for carving, not eating, varieties such as sugar pie, baby bear and cheese pumpkins are best for cooking and baking. Most all of a pumpkin can be transformed into a host of culinary treats, such as pancakes, cookies, coffee, soups, breads, pudding, butter and pasta.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database, pumpkins are fat-free, cholesterol-free, sodium-free and loaded with vitamin C. So what are you waiting for? Time to pick a pumpkin and get cooking.

 
Easy Pumpkin Pudding

Move over pumpkin pie. This creamy, rich recipe is sure to become a family favorite for all seasons.

Ingredients:
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 (1-ounce) package instant sugar-free vanilla pudding mix
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup evaporated skim milk
1 cup skim milk


Directions
: Combine the pumpkin puree, vanilla pudding mix, pumpkin pie spice, evaporated milk and skim milk in a large mixing bowl. Blend together until smooth; place in parfait glasses and chill until set. Makes six 1/2-cup servings.

Nutrition (per serving)
Calories: 72
Fat: 0.2g
Cholesterol: 3mg
Sodium: 261mg
Carbohydrates: 12.7g
Protein: 4.9g

Source: allrecipes.com

Sources: allaboutpumpkins.com, allrecipes.com, ndb.nal.usda.gov

 
For more healthy recipes check out Dietitian’s Dish!
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