A pumpkin is more than a Halloween decoration; it is a surprisingly delicious fruit! Yup, pumpkin belongs in the fruit family along with melons, cucumbers and squash. This fruit has loads of health benefits for your little one, including fiber, beta-carotene and vitamin A. Here are a few ways to introduce pumpkin to your toddler and get into the harvest spirit!
Pumpkin Puree: When choosing a pumpkin to cook and make purees, you want to avoid using the huge jack-o-lantern style pumpkins. Toddlers have a hard time eating the larger pumpkins flesh, as it is rough, stringy, hard to chew and has a bland taste. I personally like to use Sugar Pie Pumpkins for my puree. These pumpkins are more flavorful and have a sweeter taste…plus, they have a softer texture your kids will enjoy! They are smaller in size, but don’t let that fool you – they actually give you more to eat. Try using your pumpkin puree:
- In pancake or waffle mix
- As a baby food
- As a dipper for French Toast sticks
- Mixed in with yogurt or applesauce
- Mixed in with syrup, whipped cream or honey
- In your muffin, cookie or bread mix
- In soups
- And of course…for pie!
Pumpkin Seeds: If you want a yummy treat that is full of omega-3 fatty acids and packed with protein, pumpkin seeds are a perfect choice! However, since pumpkin seeds can be a choking hazard for toddlers, I like to grind them up in a coffee grinder. You can use your ground pumpkin seeds:
- Sprinkled in frozen yogurt bark
- Sprinkled in trail mix
- Sprinkled on soups
- Sprinkled on salads
- Sprinkled in cereal
- Sprinkled on yogurt
- For the crumbling feeding technique
Pumpkin Ice Cream: Pumpkin can be an acquired taste. With hesitant eaters, I find that introducing this new taste in ice cream is a huge hit! Making homemade ice cream seems to be the dessert rage right now, so why not make it a festive activity this fall? Whether you use a food processor or an ice cream maker, just add 1/2 cup of your pumpkin puree, a dash of vanilla and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice to your vanilla ice cream recipe. Yum!
Pumpkin Switch: Try using pumpkin as a replacement in some of your other recipes that call for winter squash (butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, etc.). Switching up the taste from squash to pumpkin is a fun, “foodie” way of changing with the seasons!
How did you introduce the taste of pumpkin to your toddler? Have you tried pumpkin ice cream? #ezpzfun #pumpkin #pumpkineverything
Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz