Nutrition Blog

5 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes for KidsWe LOVE pumpkin in this house (well, except my husband who is a good sport) and eat it all year round. High in Vitamin A and fiber, pumpkin is a powerhouse fruit that appeals to kids with its sweet taste. Yes, it’s a fruit, although in my head I still consider it a vegetable! Botanically speaking, it’s a fruit because it develops from a flower and contains seeds.

Topping my list of 5 favorite pumpkin foods are:

1 - Roasted Pumpkin Seeds – I make these every year but this year they tasted exceptionally better with the addition of one step to a standard recipe: After rinsing and cleaning the seeds, let them dry out for about 24 hours before cooking. This extra step removed that chewy, never-going-to-break-down, aspect of pumpkin seeds!

2 - Pumpkin Muffins – These appear in our house frequently and disappear quickly. I use a healthier version of a recipe with whole wheat flour and canola oil. 

3 - Pumpkin Pancakes – A popular kids’ breakfast with antioxidants, what could be better? I make a double batch and either eat them a few days later or wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze.

4 - Pumpkin Curry – Roast and chop fresh pumpkin, then simmer with one can of coconut milk, 2 tablespoons of red curry paste, and ½ cup of water. This is the basic recipe, and you can add pretty much whatever you have on hand: extra veggies, shrimp, tofu, chicken, beans, fresh cilantro or basil...

5 - Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese – Yum. You can add a healthier twist on Mac and Cheese with the addition of something like pumpkin and cut back on the fat (butter/cheese). Using cheese with a lot of flavor, such as extra sharp cheddar, helps when you are cutting the amount down.

 

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients:

  • One 16 oz. box macaroni
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • One 15 oz. can pureed pumpkin
  • 2 cups milk 
  • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese (4 oz.)
  • 1 1/2 cups Gruyere cheese (6 oz.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Topping (Optional):

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (5 slices white or wheat bread)
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Cook macaroni according to directions, in salted water. Drain and transfer to baking dish.
  3. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. When melted, whisk in flour for one minute.
  4. Slowly add milk, whisking to remove bumps. 
  5. Add pumpkin and cook until mixture is warmed, almost simmering, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses, salt, pepper and nutmeg. 
  7. Pour mixture over macaroni. 
  8. Melt butter, mix with fresh breadcrumbs, and sprinkle on top.
  9. Bake 20 minutes, may broil at end for 3 minutes to brown top.

Servings: 8

 

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