Julie Whittington, RD

Healthy tips from a Registered Dietitian

Pumpkins a nutritious and satisfying addition to your meal plan

Here we are in the midst of the fall season.  And, instead of the usual breakfast for you or your family, try a nutritious meal incorporating some seasonal produce.  The fall is more than Halloween candy and pumpkins on the front porch.  Teach your kids (or remind yourself!) that pumpkins can be a nutritious and satisfying part of your day.


Here is a recipe for healthy and tasty pumpkin muffins and how to incorporate them into a well-balanced breakfast:


Pumpkin Muffins (Cooking Light, 2002) Yield 18 servings (serving size: 1 muffin)


*                               2.75 cups  all-purpose flour

*                               1  cup  granulated sugar

*                               1  tbsp  baking powder

*                               1  tsp  baking soda

*                               1  tsp  ground cinnamon

*                               1/2  tsp  salt

*                               1  cup  canned pumpkin

*                               3/4  cup  fat-free sour cream

*                               1/3  cup  fat-free milk

*                               1/4  cup  vegetable oil

*                               1  tsp  vanilla extract

*                               1  large egg

*                               1  large egg white

*                               Cooking spray

*                               1  tbsp  granulated sugar

*                               1.5  tsp  brown sugar


Preheat oven to 375°.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture.  Combine pumpkin and next 6 ingredients (pumpkin through egg white); add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon the batter into 18 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.  Combine 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and brown sugar; sprinkle over muffins.  Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pans immediately; cool on a wire rack.

Calories: 164, Fat: 3.5g, Protein: 3.5g, Carbohydrate: 29.7g, Fiber: 1g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Iron: 1.2mg, Sodium: 269mg, Calcium: 78mg


For an adult or teenager, a balanced breakfast could include one of the above muffins, a glass of plain milk and a piece of fresh fruit such as an apple or banana.  If preferable, you could have about 1 tsp of tub margarine or butter on the muffin.  For a young child, a muffin with ¾ -1 cup plain milk and ½ cup of applesauce (or other fruit) might be a better portion.  For a toddler, half a muffin, ¾ cup milk and ¼ – ½ cup applesauce (or other fruit) could be appropriate.  Remember, everyone is different and has different nutritional needs.  Your nutritional needs depend on your activity level, age, height, gender and whether you are at a healthy weight.


So, enjoy the fall produce like pumpkins and apples.  Encourage your family or friends to make seasonal recipes with you so that you rely more on fresh ingredients to make well-balanced meals and snacks.


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