While you may think of it more in the fall, convenient canned pumpkin is available all year around and should become a regular on your shopping list when you are looking for a nutritional boost. One cup of canned pumpkin packs a whopping 7g of fiber, 500mg of potassium, and 38,000IU of vitamin A, along with other vitamins and minerals. So how can we get more of this super food? From sweet to savory dishes, versatile canned pumpkin can be used in a variety of recipes. Make sure to use 100% pure pumpkin (pass on the canned pumpkin with added sugar) and add an unexpected dose of nutrition to your dishes!
- Meatloaf. Add canned pumpkin to your meatloaf and not only will you be adding big nutrition to a recipe that’s usually limited in vitamins and minerals, you’ll save money when you need less meat!
- Chili, Stew & Soup. Stir pumpkin into your chili, stews and soup. The result will be big flavor and big nutrition too.
- Mac-n-Cheese. Gooey mac-n-cheese will still be just as creamy, but with the addition of pumpkin it will also be more nutritious and get a filling fiber boost! Canned pumpkin perfectly adds a serving of vegetables to this dish that’s traditionally lacking in it.
- Oil Replacer. Maybe you have heard of using apple sauce to create moist baked goods without the oil? Why not use pumpkin instead? Whether you’re baking muffins, cookies or cakes, canned pumpkin will not only add vitamins and minerals, but has fewer calories than oil (and is fat free too).
- Oatmeal. Warm oatmeal is a perfect match for canned pumpkin. Simply stir it in to get oatmeal that offers an even bigger boost than it already has! Add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg for a warm comforting bowl of nutritious grains to start your day.
- Tomato Sauce. We already know that tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, but why not give tomato sauce a bigger vitamin and fiber boost? Just stir in canned pumpkin the next time you have sauce simmering on your stove!
- Yogurt. Stir canned pumpkin into vanilla Greek yogurt and you will create a yogurt that is not only protein rich, but antioxidant rich too! Add it to your parfaits and smoothies alike!
- Pancakes. Pass on the egg and use ¼ cup canned pumpkin to create egg-free pancakes when you need them to be allergy-friendly or when you just want to make your pancakes nutrient rich!
- Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes. While mashed potatoes are decidedly delicious already, whipping canned pumpkin into them makes them even richer in potassium as well as fiber and vitamin A.
- Lasagna and Ziti. Go for a bit less cheese and a bunch more nutrition when you use canned pumpkin in your next casserole! Particular eaters that tend to avoid vegetables won’t even realize it’s in there (how sneaky of you!).
Allison J. Stowell MS,RD,CDN
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