The Diet Detective: Healthy Pumpkin Recipes

Photo by Charles Platkin

Pumpkins

Pumpkins are great for a lot more than making jack-o-lanterns. One cup of mashed pumpkin has only 49 calories and is loaded with vitamin A in the form of alpha- and beta-carotene. It also has close to 3 grams of fiber and 564 milligrams of potassium as well as vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin (good for eye health), iron and zinc.

The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Follow-up Study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, followed participants for 14 years and found that those with high blood levels of alpha-carotene were at a lower risk of dying from cancer and cardiovascular disease. While the study is not conclusive, it offers clues on pumpkins disease-fighting capabilities.

Nutrition Information (1 cup mashed pumpkin): 49 calories; 0 g fat; 12 g carbs; 3g fiber; 2 g protein

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Pumpkin au Gratin

Healthy Recipe by DietDetective.com Staff

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 6 cups peeled and cubed pumpkin
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 3/4 cup shredded low-fat Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup whole-grain flour
  • 2 cups fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions

Fill large sauce pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the pumpkin cubes and boil until soft, about eight minutes. Drain, transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

Spray large pan with the cooking spray. Set the pan over medium heat, add the onion, and cook until lightly browned. Add the onion, spinach and 1/4 cup of the cheese to the pumpkin. Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish.

Combine the flour and broth in a pan and mix thoroughly. Set the pan over medium heat until the mixture thickens. Pour the broth mixture over the pumpkin mixture and top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for half an hour. Season with the nutmeg and pepper and serve.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving): 196 calories; 3 g fat (1.8 g saturated); 34 g carbs; 12 g protein; 7.5 g dietary fiber

More: Stay Healthy This Holiday Season

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