A West Virginia University nutrition and foods specialist has found healthier ways to incorporate one of the most seasonably celebrated flavors, allowing people to have their pumpkin and eat it, too.
Nettie Freshour, teaching associate professor of human nutrition and foods in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, explains pumpkin’s nutritional benefits and healthier ways to incorporate it into your holiday meals.
“While I wouldn’t put traditional pumpkin pie in the healthy category, pumpkin in and of itself can be an extremely beneficial ingredient to add to your diet. It’s a good source of fiber, vitamins A, E and C, and potassium and iron.
“There are a lot of nontraditional ways to incorporate pumpkin into your holiday meal. It can be fun to go a little outside the box and think about how common holiday ingredients can be used in other ways.
“Instead of making a pie, add pumpkin to other food dishes. You can use canned pumpkin and muffin mix to make delicious and healthy pumpkin muffins. Or make pumpkin pancakes, which is mostly canned pumpkin with a little bit of the pancake components. These can be great ways to incorporate pumpkin and still get the seasonal flavors.
“For more savory options, consider making pumpkin soup or using canned pumpkin or sweet potatoes when making macaroni and cheese, which cuts the amount of cheese in half.
“You can stay closer to a traditional pumpkin pie and eliminate some of the unhealthiness by making a crustless pie to decrease the amount of saturated fat that comes from the butter or margarine in the crust.
“It’s the holidays, so enjoying anything in moderation is perfectly fine and encouraged. Plan ahead to ensure a balanced meal that allows some room for a sweet treat.” — Nettie Freshour, teaching associate professor of human nutrition and foods, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
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