Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Pumpkin

Pumpkin is not just for Halloween – thanks to the miracle of canning, this seasonal staple can be enjoyed all year long.  Canned pumpkin, similar to last week’s healthy ingredient, peanut butter, can be used in sweet and savory dishes and snacks, any time of the day.  Pumpkin is low in calories and high in fiber.  Its bright orange color is a giveaway that it’s packed with nutrients (generally, the darker and deeper in color the fruit or veggie, the more nutritious it is).  One cup of canned pumpkin has almost 250% of your Recommended Daily Intake of Vitamin A (an antioxidant that is critical in maintaining eye health), and is a good source of other antioxidants, including Vitamins E and C. 

Canned pumpkin can be stirred into plain yogurt and oatmeal, or used to make my quick, easy, and healthy spin on mac and cheese. 

Pumpkin Mac


1 box 100% whole wheat pasta (any kind works, although I prefer angel hair or penne)

15 ounces canned pumpkin (one small can)

One package (8 wedges) Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss cheese

Two tablespoons (or more, to taste) grated parmesan cheese

Dash black pepper

Milk (optional) to thin out the sauce


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Reserve a small amount of the pasta water.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine remaining ingredients.  Stir until warm, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the reserved water and milk to reach your desired consistency.
  4. Add pasta to the sauce.  Serve hot or cold. 

One response

  1. […] Although corn is a grain, most people consider it to be a vegetable; it may be higher in calories than most veggies, but it’s a smart, low-calorie choice in the “whole grain” world.  I am not a huge fan of whole corn (although I do like to eat it on the cob during the summer, when it’s at its peak), but I do like cooking and baking with cornmeal.  Cornmeal carries almost the same nutritional benefits as whole corn, and it’s much easier to digest, since the corn has been ground thin.  It comes in several different colors and varieties and is a staple of many different ethnic cuisines.  The following recipes showcase two variations on cornmeal, and one of them even sneaks in another Healthy Ingredient of the Week! […]

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