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Fall Into Pumpkin: A Healthy Food Choice

Posted on October 17, 2018 by Nikole Gavriilidis, MS, RD, CDE

As the summer sun fades and the leaves start to change, a familiar flavor returns to our vocabulary – pumpkin! The fall has arrived and the Valley nutrition team is looking for ways to incorporate all things pumpkin into our routines.  We will, of course, suggest enjoying the outdoors while pumpkin picking and pumpkin carving, but we also want to give you ways to enjoy pumpkin in your own kitchen.
Pumpkins are a seasonal treat that can be pureed and added to bread, muffin, or pancake mixes.  They can be enjoyed on their own—stewed, roasted or pureed into a soup.  They can also be seasoned with pumpkin spice, which is a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice that heightens the flavor of pumpkin treats.
In regards to nutrition, pumpkins are an excellent source of vitamin A.  In just a half-cup serving of pureed pumpkin, there are over 6,000 IU of vitamin A!  Vitamin A is essential for eye and skin health, as well as to overall immunity—which is especially important to remember as we enter into the flu season. 
To incorporate pumpkin into your fall routine, try this delicious recipe from Eating Well!
Pumpkin Pancakes
1½ cups white whole-wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg
1½ cups buttermilk
1 cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup toasted chopped pecans
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Whisk flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk egg, buttermilk, pumpkin, pecans, oil, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl.  “Sour milk” can be used as a substitute for buttermilk – mix 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar into 1 cup nonfat milk and let stand for ~10 minutes before using.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients and whisk just until combined.
  4. Let the batter sit, without stirring, for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.
  6. Without stirring the batter, measure out pancakes using about ¼ cup batter per pancake and pour into the pan.
  7. Cook until the edges are dry and you see bubbles on the surface, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown on the other side, 2 to 4 minutes more.
  8. Repeat with the remaining batter, coating the pan with cooking spray and reducing the heat as needed.
Serving size: 2 (4-inch) pancakes
Per serving: 201 calories, 8g fat, 1gm saturated fat, 29mg cholesterol, 27gm carbohydrate, 4gm fiber, 7g protein, 379mg sodium, 5,513 ID vitamin A
If you are interested in meeting with a nutrition coach to learn more about a wide range of personalized services including menu planning, refrigerator makeovers, supermarket shopping, advice about what to order in restaurants, personal chef referrals, lunch box ideas, collaborative cooking instruction and recipes, please contact Joe Juliano, DTR, Nutrition and Wellness Manager, The Valley Hospital, at 201-447-8093 or
Additional References:
Krause’s Food and Nutrition Therapy

Tags: nutrition


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