Welcome to Food Rx with Jessica DeLuise, PA-C, CCMS, a physician assistant and culinary medicine specialist! This monthly series will focus on the important role food plays in our overall health, plus we’ll be sharing kid-friendly recipes to add more fresh produce to your family’s diet.
While we all love our pumpkin decorations and lattes, pumpkins offer tons of nutrients that aid in immune system function, collagenbuilding, and supply plenty of vitamins. In the latest Food Rx live, Jessica shares pumpkin health benefits, uses, and a few delicious recipes.
Get a high dose of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A by consuming more pumpkin!
Pumpkin Health Benefits
- Pumpkin is rich in fiber with 4g/ ½ cup in canned pumpkin
- Women under 50 should consume 21 to 25 grams per day
- Men under 50 should consume 30 to 38 grams per day
- Children 1- 18 years need anywhere from 14- 31 grams per day depending on their age and gender.
- Pumpkin supplies beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for eye health, and specifically NIGHT VISION. The vitamin A that pumpkin provides can help fight viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens.
- There is Vitamin C in pumpkin which supports immune system function, aids healing, aids collagen formation, AND aids absorption of NON-HEME iron (plant based iron). 1 cup of pumpkin has about 10 mg of Vitamin C.
- Children aged 1- 18 years old need anywhere form 40-75mg per day
- Besides being packed with vitamins and minerals, pumpkin is also relatively low in calories, as it’s 94% water… SO it’s a food that can HYDRATE us as well as nourish us.
Ways to Use Pumpkin
Natural face mask
Pureed pumpkin can be used as a natural face mask that helps exfoliate the skin and soothes it too. Here is a easy pumpkin face mask recipe to try at home.
- Mix 2.5 tbsp pumkpin, 1 tbsp plain yogurt, 1 tbsp manuka honey, ½ tsp lemon juice and apply to face for 12-15 minutes until mask begins to harden then rinse.
Healthy Cooking & Baking Swaps
In your baking recipes, swap the SAME amount of pureed pumpkin in for any oil or melted butter. Swap out added cream in sauces like alfredo, mac and cheese, or cream of mushroom in pot pie recipes.
For cheesecakes, add HALF the recommended amount of cream cheese and add replace the other half with pumpkin puree. It will soften the cake and reduce the saturated fat content, reduce overall calories, and add a seasonal flare!
Add to soothes for a fun way to get veggies into your body at the beginning of the day. Here is a great recipe:
- 1 scoop vanilla protein
- 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
- 1 carrot
- 8 oz milk of choice (unsweetened)
- 3 tsp favorite yogurt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 Pumpkin Recipes to Try!
Treat the family to an extra special weekend breakfast with this recipe, perfect for waffles or pancakes. Made with simple ingredients you probably already have stocked in your pantry.
- 1 1/2 brown rice flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice or 1 tsp each of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 2/3 cup milk – try Mooala Banana Milk
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- Mix the dry ingredients together.
- Then, in a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients together. Fold them together and give it a few stirs.
- Heat a waffle iron, and cook 1/4 cup of batter at a time. Or, using a griddle, make them into pancakes.
Pumpkin Tomato Sauce
Making homemade pasta sauce doesn’t have to be a labourous process! With a few simple ingredients, you can whip up a flavor-packed sauce that is loaded with nutrients and sure to be a hit with the family. Freeze leftovers for a quick dinner in a pinch.
- 4 cups pumpkin puree. Use (2) pints homemade, (2) 15-oz. cans or (2) 16-oz. Boxes.
- 3 cups crushed tomatoes (equivalent to one 26-oz. can)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil (not extra virgin)
- 3 fresh leaves (minced), 1 tsp dried, or 1/2 tsp ground
- 1 Tbsp fresh (minced) or 1 tsp dried
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Measure cooking oil into a large sauce pan, and heat on medium.
- Add garlic and onions, and cook for five minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
- Add spices, and cook for two minutes to release their flavor. If using fresh herbs, skip this step.
- Add pumpkin puree and crushed tomatoes, and stir to combine. Simmer over low to medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve over noodles with chickpeas or animal protein of choice.
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup pumpkin
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup plant based milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup stevia (if desired)
- 2 cups almond flour (can swap in another flour if desired)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp pink salt
- 2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon if you have that on hold).
- Mix wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls. Add dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, little by little, incorporating thoroughly.
- Pre- heat the oven to 350 F.
- Choose your loaf pain and grease all sides with olive oil. Add a piece of parchment paper to the bottom on the pan to allow the bread to release easily.
- Pout batter into the pan.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until toothpick is removed easily.
Before changing or adding any foods or supplements into you regimen, ALWAYS consult with your practitioner.