Pumpkin is a fruit which tastes great as in ingredient in cooked food. More than purely a Halloween decoration, it is chock-full of nutrients, rich in vitamins and minerals yet low in calories.
Beta-carotene, the compound that gives pumpkin its orange colour, is a powerful antioxidant. Ingested beta-carotene is converted into Vitamin A. Vitamin A also supports children’s immunity by keeping the cells that line the respiratory, digestive and urinary tract healthy.
Incredibly versatile, pumpkins can be incorporated into soups, salads, rice and pasta or even made into butter!
You can make pumpkin puree for babies and there is a high chance that your baby will accept it as pumpkin is naturally sweet. Its high fibre content promotes smooth bowel movements too, but do not be alarmed when your child’s stools turn out orangey. After all, children’s poop comes in a myriad of colours!
We’ve compiled some tried and tested pumpkin recipes using healthy cooking methods to minimise the loss of nutrients, and are healthily delicious dishes for children.
Soups and starters
- Cream of Pumpkin Soup
This comforting cream of pumpkin soup is relatively simple to make, comprising only five ingredients. Sauteeing the pumpkin bits before adding chicken stock adds to the sweetness of the soup. Wholemeal bread croutons provide dimension and crunch to the dish.
- Baked Pumpkin Wedges
Pumpkin caramelises when roasted and it becomes a guilt-free side snack for the weight conscious. Children can munch on these wedges freely too, as each serving is only 90 calories, compared to a staggering 312 calories for french fries!
- Rice Cooker Pumpkin Rice
Did you know that the rice cooker can do more than just cook plain rice? One pot dishes are the perfect solution for time-pressed parents. It is a quick and easy cooking method – simply place all ingredients into the cooker to create one-pot meals that are yummy and balanced in nutrition.There’s less washing up to do afterwards as well! The Chinese-style recipe calls for mushrooms, Chinese sausages and pumpkin to be fried before adding rice and water into the rice cooker.
- Seafood Stew in Pumpkin
The presentation of this dish is appealing as the pumpkin is cut open like a flower and used as a serving bowl. This recipe uses steaming, stir-frying and baking, all of which are healthy cooking methods. Adding grated mozzarella cheese as a topping is a sure crowd-pleaser. Extra calcium to build strong bones and teeth for your little ones!
- Chilled Lemon Pumpkin
A cold dessert that provides refreshment and relieves fatigue, the chilled lemon pumpkin dish is power packed with Vitamins A, C, E, dietary fibre and potassium. Boiling is used as a cooking method to soften the pumpkin.
- Pumpkin Ice Cream
Even children with picky taste buds will find it hard to reject pumpkin in this form. Pumpkin can be turned into ice cream without an ice cream maker! Make this sweet treat on a hot day to pamper your young ones!
As you can see, pumpkin can be used in various ways and cooking methods as a source of essential nutrients that your growing toddler requires. Low in fat and calories and high on nutrients, this is one ingredient you should be using more of in your cooking.
Are you adding pumpkins into your child’s diet? Tell us which is your child’s favourite pumpkin dish!