PUMPKIN: More Than Just A Decoration!

by Brooke on October 30, 2012

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Pumpkins are packed with vitamin A and beta-carotene.   Beta-carotene is a carotenoid and an antioxidant, which is converted to vitamin A in the body.  Pumpkins also supply a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, and potassium; not to mention that every half cup of pure pureed pumpkin provides around 3.6 grams of fiber!

Below is the nutritional breakdown of one-half cup of pureed canned pumpkin without added salt.  This information was taken from the USDA’s National Nutrient Database.  Just ignore the middle column that is based off of one hundred grams and focus on the column on the far right that is based on one-half cup.  It should be noted that this value is based off of a pure pureed can of pumpkin NOT a pumpkin pie mix!  Some of those canned pumpkin mixes will add extra sugar, which increases the calories per half cup.

Unit Value per 100.0g cup 122.5g
Water g 89.97 110.21
Energy kcal 34 42
Protein g 1.10 1.35
Total lipid (fat) g 0.28 0.34
Carbohydrate, by difference g 8.09 9.91
Fiber, total dietary g 2.9 3.6
Sugars, total g 3.30 4.04
Calcium, Ca mg 26 32
Iron, Fe mg 1.39 1.70
Magnesium, Mg mg 23 28
Phosphorus, P mg 35 43
Potassium, K mg 206 252
Sodium, Na mg 5 6
Zinc, Zn mg 0.17 0.21
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid mg 4.2 5.1
Thiamin mg 0.024 0.029
Riboflavin mg 0.054 0.066
Niacin mg 0.367 0.450
Vitamin B-6 mg 0.056 0.069
Folate, DFE µg 12 15
Vitamin B-12 µg 0.00 0.00
Vitamin A, RAE µg 778 953
Vitamin A, IU IU 15563 19065
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) mg 1.06 1.30
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) µg 0.0 0.0
Vitamin D IU 0 0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) µg 16.0 19.6
Fatty acids, total saturated g 0.146 0.179
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated g 0.037 0.045
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated g 0.015 0.018
Cholesterol mg 0 0
Caffeine mg 0


This time of year, pumpkins are played with more than they are eaten.  We hollow them out, cut them, paint them, and add candles to them….BUT due to their mild flavor pumpkins can be added to numerous snacks and meals.  Here are just a few ideas:

  1. Add one-half cup of a light or nonfat plain Greek yogurt to one-half cup of canned pure pureed pumpkin.  This recipe if made with a 2% Greek yogurt also makes a great fruit dip.  Just slice up your favorite fruit (ie apples) and dip away.
  2. Love warm hot oatmeal in the morning?  Try making it with one to two tablespoons of pure pureed canned pumpkin and feel free to even add raisins or a spice like cinnamon, nutmeg, or pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Make an after workout shake by blending together one cup of skim milk  OR eight ounces of light vanilla yogurt, one-forth cup of pureed pumpkin, and ice.
  4. It is getting colder and chili cook-offs are starting to take place.  When making your next chili, try adding one can of pureed pumpkin to the recipe.  I just tried it this past weekend and loved it; however I also added a little pumpkin beer (shh don’t tell anyone).
  5. Love baking?  Add pureed canned pumpkin to bread, muffins, or even cookies.  Yes, the cookies are not as healthy, but at least you are adding a little nutritional value to them ;).




Note:  Photo was taken by my sister Sarah Schantz.  Sarah nor myself are receiving money to promote Coca-Cola products.










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