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Are Pumpkins Nutrient Rich?

Fall often spells pumpkin fever for many: pumpkin-spiced lattes, pumpkin-filled pies, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin carvings, etc. But pumpkins offer us more than a seasonal treat or decorative home accessory. They're also an excellent source of fiber.

To give you a better idea, one cup of canned pumpkin has 7 grams of fiber. But that's not all it brings to the nutritional table. Pumpkins also contain vitamins A, C, and E. 

Other vitamins and minerals that can be found in pumpkins include:

  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Iron 
  • Phosphorus
  • Folate

Fresh Pumpkins vs. Pumpkin Puree Nutrition

When you think about the nutritional benefits of pumpkins, remember that the macro-and-micronutrients listed above come from the flesh of this bright orange plant. 

Once peeled away, you roast it in the oven or steam it until it becomes soft. Next, you puree it in a food processor—and voila! This is known as fresh pumpkin, which you can easily add to different recipes such as smoothies, soups, and desserts. Some people even choose to substitute butter or cream cheese with fresh pumpkin.

Pumpkin puree is also known as canned pumpkin. This version is readily available for you to use in baking or cooking. As with fresh pumpkin, its skin is removed, steamed, and pureed. 

Note: Pumpkin pie filling is not the same as pumpkin puree since it has added ingredients like sugar. The main ingredient—and only ingredient—in pumpkin puree is…pumpkin!

How Many Calories Are in Pumpkins?

Pumpkin puree contains no added sugar, salt, or other seasonings, and is considerably low in calories. For example, approximately one cup of canned pumpkin has 83 calories, while 1 cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin has 49 calories.

Because pumpkins are low in calories and rich in macro-and-micronutrients, they are considered a nutrient-dense food.

Other Fun Facts about Pumpkins

  • Pumpkins come from the squash family, but they are technically a fruit. 
  • Eating fresh pumpkins vs. canned pumpkins will provide you with the same nutritional benefits.
  • Pumpkin seeds contain fiber and minerals like zinc, potassium, and magnesium.
  • Pumpkins contain antioxidants like beta-carotene, which gives pumpkins their rich orange color and helps prevent the formation of free radicals in the body.
  • Pumpkins are made up of almost 90% water.
  • Pumpkin comes from the Greek word "pepon," which means a large melon in English.

Best Fall-Inspired Pumpkin Recipes

Though pumpkins are commonly found in sugary treats like pies, muffins, bread, and cakes, you can still enjoy your favorite fall recipes with a few ingredient substitutions.

Let's review a few!

Pumpkin Rolls

This recipe from Wholesome Yum makes it look like you need hours to prepare this scrumptious dish, but prep time is only 10 minutes and bake time is 30. With 2 grams of sugar per serving, this autumn-inspired treat makes a great centerpiece at the dessert table and is sure to please everyone's taste buds.

Pumpkin Pie

Would you believe this recipe from Delish has 8 grams of fiber and only 4 grams of sugar per serving? If you love a traditional pumpkin pie, you won't be disappointed with this recipe that uses almond and coconut flowers and canned pumpkins. Your pumpkin pie will come out of the oven looking and tasting like the original!

Pumpkin Pie Donuts

With only 1 gram of sugar per donut, this recipe still manages to satisfy your sweet tooth and deliver the best fall flavors imaginable. It also has 3 grams of fiber per serving to help kickstart your nutrition in the A.M.

Other Pumpkin Recipes

Aside from dessert, here are a few other recipes that leave added sugars in the dust:

Ready to Add Pumpkin to the Menu?

As we continue to enjoy the fall season, be sure you're taking full advantage of the essential nutrients pumpkins offer. For more blood sugar-friendly meal planning ideas, visit our recipes page for inspiration, and stay connected to our blog for more nutritional articles and news!