Benefits of pumpkin

By Taylor Sutton, MS, RD

United Supermarkets’ Lifestyle Desk

Fall brings about thoughts of cooler weather, falling leaves, and of course, pumpkins! Pumpkins can be a favorite of dietitians due to the high amount of vitamin A and fiber in a small amount of calories.

From a botanical point of view, pumpkins are a fruit since it’s the part of the plant that develops from a flower and contains seeds. From a cooking point of view, it’s a vegetable since it’s less sweet. From a nutritional standpoint, it’s loaded with some great nutrients.

Pumpkin is a great source of beta carotene (which gives pumpkin its orange color). That beta carotene is important for helping our skin stay youthful and help prevent some cancers. It can also be converted into a form of Vitamin A which helps with eyesight. While fresh pumpkin is great for you, don’t forget that canned pureed pumpkin can also provide all of these benefits.

Many people want to put that pumpkin into a pie – which is delicious- but how about using it in an unexpected and healthier way? Pumpkin can help give some creaminess to dishes without adding extra fat and calories. Let’s fall in love with some great uses and tips for using canned pumpkin:

  • Added into oatmeal or yogurt
  • Since you are adding it yourself rather than finding it already in a product you get to (1) add in as much or little of the flavor your festive heart desires and (2) it’s only that ingredient rather than maybe a few others
  • Make a compound butter
  • Sounds fancy, but it’s only two ingredients and you can use it on your next slice of toast, cornbread with chili or grilled chicken recipe. Just mix room temperature butter with the puree and set it in the fridge to harden. Add any additional ingredients as you see fit
  • Add it into your mashed potatoes
  • It will have a similar consistency and I bet the kids would love a fun Halloween color gracing their plate. We’ll show you how to do this in an upcoming shepherd’s pie recipe so stay tuned.

Pumpkin Pecan French Toast

What You Need

1 loaf Bay City Sourdough Bread

2 Tbsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice

1 c. roughly chopped pecans

1/3 c. Brown Sugar, unpacked

1 can, canned pumpkin

16 oz. egg whites

1/2 c. fairlife milk

How It’s Made

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Grease a 9×13 baking dish

3. Tear sourdough into rough small pieces and place in pan

4. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg whites, canned pumpkin, milk, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar and pecans (reserve about 1/4 c. for topping)

5. Pour mixture over bread and stir around to absorb

6. Bake for 30 minutes

7. Add additional pecans to finish