Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Babies

0
12790

The health benefits of pumpkin include good source of essential nutrients for baby’s development, builds stronger immune system, kills intestinal worms, antimicrobial properties and supplies antioxidants.

Pumpkin, a popular vegetable most of us remember as Pumpkin Pie during Thanksgiving and being carved into Jack O’ Lanterns during Halloween. The health benefits of pumpkin make it more than just a figure for celebrating festivals.

The origins of pumpkin are not known but there is evidence that pumpkins were grown in Mexico and north America about 5000 to 7000 BC. Apart from Mexico, pumpkins have also been found almost all the continents except for Antarctica. Today, the biggest producers of pumpkin are the United States, Canada, India, China and Mexico.

pumpkin for babies

Pumpkins are generally orange in color with size varying from 10 cm to over 500 cm in diameter and weigh between 1 pound to 1000 pounds. Every year in the United States, Pumpkin Festivals are held where a variety of pumpkins from the local farmers are displayed in varied artistic forms. These festivals also conduct the world’s heavy weight pumpkin champions. One can see some of the largest and heaviest pumpkins here.

Nutrition in pumpkin

According to the National Nutrient Database from the United States Department of Agriculture, the nutrition found in pumpkin include

Nutritional ComponentValue per 100 gNutritional ComponentValue per 100 g
Water91.6 gEnergy26 kcal
Protein1 gTotal Lipid (fat)0.10 g
Carbohydrates6.5 gFiber0.5 g
Sugars2.76 gCalcium21 mg
Iron0.80 mgMagnesium12 mg
Phosphorous44 mgPotassium340 mg
Sodium1 mgZinc0.32 mg
Vitamin C9 mgThiamin0.050 mg
Riboflavin0.11 mgNiacin0.6 mg
Vitamin B-60.061 mgFolate16 ug
Vitamin A8513 IUVitamin E1.06 mg
Vitamin K1.1 ug

Can pumpkin given to babies?

Pumpkins can be fed to your child by the time he or she is 6 months old. Due to the presence of essential vitamins and minerals, it would be certainly good to introduce pumpkin to your child’s diet.

Health benefits of pumpkin in baby food

Here are some of the health benefits of pumpkin.

Supplies essential nutrients: The vitamins and minerals which are found in pumpkin are ideally suited for the development of babies. Some of them include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, riboflavin, vitamin E and vitamin K. These vitamins and minerals play important role in infant development. Calcium and magnesium help in building stronger bones, iron helps to produce hemoglobin and red blood cells, phosphorous aides in digestion, brain functioning, protein formation, hormone balance, etc. Vitamin C is an essential ingredient for strong immune system and vitamin A is for better eye sight.

Helps in building stronger immune system: Apart from being a good source of vitamin C, pumpkin has several important biochemicals that strengthen the immune system, have been noted in some studies. These studies have shown that pumpkin promotes splenic lymphocytic proliferation and natural killer cell activity.

Anthelmintic properties: Babies are more prone to infections not only from microbes but also from macroscopic organisms and worms are no exception. In such cases, pumpkin can be given to your baby. Pumpkin possesses good anthelmintic properties. This includes not only curing but also prevention when consumed regularly.

Good source of anti-oxidants: Pumpkins not only contain vitamins, minerals and few biochemicals, but they also contain Antioxidants. Antioxidants are those biochemicals which reduce oxidative stresses on various organs and help in protecting them. These antioxidants are not only useful for adults and elders, but they are also important for children as well.

Antimicrobial properties: Finally, pumpkins also possess antimicrobial properties. The incidence of microbial attack is more in babies and children than in adults due to the presence of stronger immune system in adults. In babies and children, the immune system is relatively weaker. In such cases, a food that can provide anti-microbial properties would be very good because it not only strengthens the immunity, it also prevents the attack of microbes. (Caili et al, 2006).

Measures to be taken while preparing pumpkin for babies

Here are some of the measures to be taken while preparing pumpkin.

Can pumpkin be given to babies? Yes, pumpkin can be given to your babies soon after solid foods have been started. This usually happens by 6 months of age. During this time, it is better to introduce vegetables and fruits as soon as possible.

How to select the best pumpkin? The secret of selecting the best pumpkin lies in the colour, texture and overall appearance. Pumpkin must be firm to handle without any soft spots or cuts. It must be orange in colour. It is better to take smaller pumpkins than those large pumpkins, if the intention is only to feed the baby else any size is good enough.

How to cook pumpkin? After the pumpkin has cleaned thoroughly on the outside, peel it and then begin cutting it. After cutting it, remember to remove all the seeds from the flesh without fail. These seeds are large enough to cause choking in infants. Cook the pieces as soon as possible.

You can cook pumpkin like most vegetables by either boiling it or steaming it. But, it is being fed to babies so to be more effective opt for steaming rather than boiling because several nutrients get dissolved and washed away during boiling process. Baking can also be a better choice. Make sure to puree it after cooking as it makes it easier for your baby to eat it.

Pumpkin vs pumpkin seeds:

Pumpkin seeds are rich in nutrients and may have many health benefits. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of healthful oils, magnesium, and other nutrients that enhance the health of the heart, bones, and other functions. Seeds, in general, are considered excellent sources of potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Therefore, both the pumpkin flesh and seeds are beneficial for your baby.

12 delicious recipes of pumpkin for babies

Pumpkin pie

A sweet treat that your kids will love for sure! Link to the recipe: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/23439/perfect-pumpkin-pie/

Pumpkin soup

If your kids do not like the conventional vegetable soup, then give it a twist by adding pumpkin to it! Pumpkin soup tastes slightly sweet, so your kids will love it. It is both healthy and tasty! Link for the recipe: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/9191/pumpkin-soup/

Pumpkin pancakes

If your kids love pancakes, then you can give them a twist by adding pumpkin pulp to the batter. Pumpkin pancakes will become the ultimate sunday breakfast for your kids! Link for the recipe: https://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/light-and-fluffy-pumpkin-pancakes-187362

Pumpkin smoothie

 Smoothies are one of the healthiest drinks you can find around. Make pumpkin smoothies for your baby and watch them slurp it away. Link for the recipe: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/pumpkin-pie-protein-smoothie/

Pumpkin puree

You can make 28 ounces of puree from a pumpkin of two-pound weight.

You will need:

  • 1 sugar pumpkin
  • Water
  • A pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg powder (optional)
  • Butter (optional)

How to:

  1. Puree cooked pumpkin in a blender or food processor until smooth. Serve it to your baby after sprinkling some nutmeg and cinnamon powder.
  2. You can also add a dollop of butter for extra creaminess.
  3. Add water, formula or breastmilk for desired consistency.

Apple and pumpkin puree

You will need:

  • 1 sugar pumpkin
  • 3 peeled and cored apples
  • Water
  • A pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg powder (optional)

How to:

  1. Cut the pumpkin in half, peel and de-seed it. Cut it into cubes.
  2. Slice the apples.
  3. Pour water in a pan, add a steamer basket and place the pumpkin cubes and apples inside. Bring the water to a boil.
  4. Cover the pan and cook until the apple and pumpkin turn tender.
  5. Remove the pan from heat and keep it aside to cool.
  6. You can add a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg powder before serving to the mashed apple and pumpkin puree for baby.

Apple pumpkin and oatmeal recipe:

You will need:

  • ½ cup of applesauce
  • ½ cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ cups of cooked oatmeal
  • A pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg powder (optional)

How to:

  1. Mix the applesauce and pumpkin puree. Add the oatmeal and stir well.
  2. Make sure there are no lumps. You can blend the mix in a food processor to get a smooth consistency.
  3. Sprinkle the nutmeg and cinnamon powder before serving.

Pumpkin custard

You will need:

  • 750g peeled and cubed pumpkin
  • 1½ cups of milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tbsp vanilla
  • ½tbsp allspice powder
  • 1tbsp cinnamon powder
  • Water

For topping:

  • 2tbsp brown sugar
  • ½tbsp cinnamon powder
  • ½tbsp allspice

How to:

  1. Cook the pumpkin in a saucepan with water until it turns tender.
  2. Preheat the oven to 360 degrees f.
  3. Blend the pumpkin in a food processor to a puree.
  4. Mix the milk, eggs, vanilla, and allspice and cinnamon powder in a bowl. Stir well.
  5. Now add the mix to the pumpkin puree and blend again.
  6. Pour the mix into ramekins.
  7. Add the ingredients for the topping in a bowl and mix well. Sprinkle it over the mix.
  8. Place the ramekins in a baking dish that contains water.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes and serve.

Easy pumpkin dip

You will need:

  • 250g boiled and mashed red pumpkin
  • 1tbsp roasted and powdered peanuts or mixed nuts
  • 1tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • ½ cup of fresh yogurt
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • Salt to taste

How to:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
  2. Offer it as a dip to your baby with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Brown rice pumpkin risotto

You will need:

  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 minced shallots
  • 1½ cups of brown rice
  • 2½ cups of chicken broth
  • ¼tbsp nutmeg powder
  • ¼tbsp salt
  • Fresh pepper powder for taste
  • 1 cup of cooked pumpkin puree
  • 2tbsp freshly chopped sage leaves
  • ¼tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 cup of grated cheese

How to:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots. Cook until they turn brown and soften.
  2. Now add the brown rice and cook for about two minutes.
  3. Add the chicken broth, nutmeg powder, salt, and pepper. Turn up the heat and let it all come to a boil. Keep stirring.
  4. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for about 30 to 35 minutes.
  5. Add the pumpkin puree, sage and cinnamon powder. Let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheese. Cover the pan with the lid and let it sit for about five minutes before serving.

Baked pumpkin mac n cheese

You will need:

  • 8oz uncooked pasta
  • 1 cup of canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup of cream
  • 4tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup of grated cheese
  • 1½tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Sea salt as per taste
  • Black pepper powder as per taste
  • 1/3 cup of breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • Water

How to:

  1. Boil the pasta for ten minutes. Drain the water and rinse the pasta under cool water. Keep them aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees f and grease a casserole dish.
  3. In a pan, heat the cream and the pumpkin over medium heat. Keep cooking until the mix starts to thicken.
  4. Reduce the heat and add the cheese. Keep stirring until the cheese melts completely.
  5. Add a dash of pumpkin pie spice, salt, and pepper. Now add the pasta and stir well.
  6. Pour this mix into the casserole dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs, some parmesan cheese on top and the remaining pumpkin pie spice.
  7. Bake the pasta for ten minutes and serve.

Pumpkin and spinach chapatti

You will need:

  • 1 cup of grated red pumpkin
  • 1 cup of chopped spinach
  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • ½tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Butter

How to:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the spinach and sauté. Remove it from heat and let it cool down.
  2. In the meanwhile, mix all the other ingredients, except butter, to knead a soft dough. Roll out the dough balls to make flat breads.
  3. Heat a flat pan and place the rolled out flat bread on the top of it. Add a little butter and cook it until it turns golden brown on both the sides.

This is a comprehensive list of all the amazing pumpkin recipes for your baby. Hope your baby gets to reap all the health benefits of pumpkin from these delicious and healthy recipes. If you have any simple yet amazing baby recipes, please feel free to share with us!

RELATED POSTS