For pumpkin spice lovers, the most wonderful time of the year is here. If you are a fan of this fabulous fall flavor you might be wondering how to pass on your love for all things pumpkin spice to your little one.
Pumpkin is an ideal choice for baby because it contains loads of vitamins and minerals that aid in baby’s development, and introducing her to new flavors helps ward off picky eating. Picking the perfect pumpkin foods can be tricky, so our expert, Wendy Palmer, registered dietitian, is here to help you sort it all out.
Canned pumpkin is a perfect go-to for the fall because it’s less than $1 per serving and it’s a major time saver (no need to create it from scratch!). If your baby has already started solids, the canned pumpkin is an easy option because it’s already pureed. For toddlers, just dab a little canned pumpkin on your little one’s plate and have fun watching him give it a try.
Pureed pumpkin is a great way to add veggies to your baby’s breakfast: Simply spoon canned pumpkin into oatmeal, which is full of heart-healthy fiber and vitamin A, or yogurt, which provides bone-strengthening calcium and vitamin A.
Packaged pumpkin products on store shelves may sound tempting this time of year—think pumpkin-spice flavored cereal, yogurt and oatmeal—but they are typically full of sugar. According to the American Heart Association, children over age 2 should not have more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day, and children under age 2 should have no added sugar. So don’t fall for these sugar-laden pumpkin food products…even if they appear healthy.
Because pumpkins are vegetables, a lot of prepackaged pumpkin products, such as pumpkin cereal bars, promote the fact that they’re “all natural,” “organic” or “contain no artificial flavors.” However, that doesn’t mean they are a good choice for baby. Organic potato chips are still potato chips, so remember that organic pumpkin cookies are still cookies.
If you are looking for other good fall foods for your little one, think about apples and sweet potatoes. Unsweetened applesauce is a great choice for an on-the-go snack, and prepping sweet potatoes in the microwave and mashing with a fork is quick and easy for busy parents.