Truth be told, cozy recipes that highlight pumpkin and comforting spices like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg are some of my favourites to make, especially when it’s cold outside! The dietitian in me loves pumpkin not only for its delicious flavour, but also its nutrition! Packed with vitamins A and K, magnesium, and fibre, pumpkin helps boost the nutrient density of any recipe you add it to!
Here are three of my top pumpkin recipes that your kids will love:
These deliciously fluffy pumpkin pie cookies are the perfect addition to school lunches or an after-school snack paired with a quick protein (such as cheese slices or Greek yogurt). I love that these cookies can be made fully plant-based by swapping in chia eggs and coconut oil (instead of butter). The combination of rolled oats, whole wheat flour and pumpkin puree makes these cookies a great source of dietary fibre. Not only are these cookies yummy, they will help keep your kiddos satisfied as well!
These satisfying pumpkin spice muffins are full of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants! This muffin is baby-friendly as half of the sugar is replaced with nutrient-dense mashed bananas. This adds extra nutrition, moisture and sweetness without compromising on flavour. In fact, I would consider this muffin more of a snack or breakfast addition than a “treat,” because of its nutrient-dense ingredients. I love making these muffins for my family not only because they are school-safe, but they are perfect to make ahead and freeze for later!
This pumpkin spice baked oatmeal is packed with warming flavours and nutrient-dense ingredients that will keep your kiddos satisfied all morning! Baked oatmeal is one of my go-to make-ahead breakfasts for Fall and Winter months. It is so easy to grab a baked oatmeal square out of the freezer and pop it in the microwave for a warm, soft and fluffy breakfast (my kids love it with peanut butter and sliced banana!). The oats in this recipe contribute both soluble and insoluble fibre helping to promote gut health, stabilize blood sugar levels and keep your kids fuller for longer.
Why pumpkin is so nourishing for your child
Whether you grow pumpkins yourself or purchase canned pumpkin puree from the grocery store, this orange winter squash can be a wonderful addition to your child’s eating routine. Take a look at what nutrients only ½ cup of pumpkin puree contributes (for kids under the age of 8):
- 4g of dietary fibre- important for regulating blood sugar levels, promoting even energy, improving gut health and overall immune function.
- 2-3x daily vitamin A requirements – important for normal eye development, immune function, antioxidative action to prevent cell damage, and maintaining skin health.
- More than 50% of daily vitamin K requirements – plays a major role in bone development, proper blood clotting, and heart health.
- More than 25% daily magnesium requirements – this mineral is important for the maintenance and growth of strong bones and teeth, helps promote proper muscle function, improves gut motility (helping to prevent constipation), and plays a role in nerve and immune system function.
If you haven’t experimented with pumpkin in your home already, this versatile squash is a perfect vegetable to explore with your kiddos this winter. The recipes I have listed all use pumpkin puree, but don’t stop there! Chopped whole pumpkin can certainly be a delicious addition to winter soups, chili and stews! Roasting your own pumpkin seeds is always a fun activity that also gets the kids involved. Preparing parts of the pumpkin in different ways becomes an exciting and impactful way to explore it with your child, especially if it is a new food for them.