Healthy Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkin recipes are more than just a Halloween tradition.
 

Lara Rondinelli By Lara Rondinelli, RD, LDN, CDE

Tis the season for a really good pumpkin recipe. Nothing celebrates autumn more than pumpkin. Most people have pumpkins carved out with a scary Halloween face displayed on their front porch. Many people only think about pie when thinking about pumpkin recipes, but pumpkin is a nutrition powerhouse and a versatile food that can fit into any meal of the day for people with diabetes.

Pumpkin is a great source of beta-carotene, a carotenoid and antioxidant that is converted into vitamin A, which is a nutrient essential for vision and immune function that may also be protective against cancer and heart disease. Pumpkin is low in both calories and carbohydrates with 40 calories and 9 grams of carbohydrates in a half-cup serving of canned pure pumpkin. It's also a great source of fiber, packing in five grams in a half-cup serving. You may have heard that pumpkin has a high glycemic index (GI). Although pumpkin has a high GI, it is very low in carbohydrates and therefore has a low glycemic load (GL) and will not raise blood glucose levels dramatically.

Fresh pumpkin can be baked, boiled, steamed, or roasted, but if you're pressed for time the canned version (100 percent pure pumpkin) is a quick and easy alternative. Below are pumpkin recipes that show how pumpkin can be eaten at breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Breakfast

Pumpkin pancakes can be made very easily by adding a little pumpkin into your whole-grain pancake mix (and reducing the other wet ingredients to compensate). Top with a little butter and cinnamon and you'll have a great breakfast to start the day. And don't forget a pumpkin latte, which you could easily make at home with some coffee, canned pumpkin, warm milk, and spices. Beware of ordering a pumpkin latte at a coffee shop, however, as a 16-ounce pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks contains 380 calories, 51 grams of carbohydrates, and 13 grams of fat.

Pumpkin RecipeLunch

Pumpkin soup is a delicious and satisfying lunch. Impress your lunch guest with this simple soup that seems gourmet. Saut onions and celery in olive oil and add chicken broth, canned pure pumpkin, a bit of nutmeg, and sage and then simmer. You can then add some heated milk for a creamier soup.

Dinner

Are you wondering what to make for dinner on football Sunday? Pumpkin Chili. Yes, you heard me right, it's like traditional chili with beans, lean beef or turkey, diced tomatoes, green peppers, onion, and one cup canned pumpkin with a little sprinkle of pumpkin pie spices. Try it and you might be pleasantly surprised to find that you like this nutritious pumpkin recipe packed full of vitamin A, C, protein, and fiber.

Dessert

Pumpkin pie can be made healthy with a few substitutions. By using evaporated milk in place of sweetened condensed milk and sugar substitute in place of sugar, you will be cutting carbs dramatically. Next, either go crustless entirely or cut the thick strip of dough around the rim of a traditional piecrust. Reduce carbs even further by eliminating the piecrust and making a pumpkin mousse instead of a pie.

Read Lara's bio here.

Read more of Lara Rondinelli's columns.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition. 

Last Modified Date: June 14, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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