It’s spring here in Australia. The Gardening tools are out, soil tilled and the seeds are good to go. Sifting through my seed packets, I found butternut pumpkin. I’ll have to sow it in the next month or so to harvest around autumn. But before it’s even in the ground, that sweet oval seed has me craving one of my favourite vegetables.
When I began introducing foods to my children, I made sure they got to taste a variety of foods. I wish that I could say they love all food and aren’t picky at all, but they have their days (as all toddlers do). I don’t like “sneaking” vegetables into foods, because in my experience, they will weed out, hunt down and find every piece of disguised vegetable they loathe in their hidden ‘yummy completely chocolate brownies 😉 ‘ and never trust you again. Bit extreme – but that’s how toddlers roll. So instead, I have just started teaching my kids the importance of eating a variety of coloured fruits and vegetables, and letting them experiment, help cook and prepare their own foods. It has truly helped and I honestly don’t have them saying no to many veg at all, really only onion and coriander for my son and nothing yet for my daughter (hallelujah!).
Showcasing vegetables in foods that they enjoy to eat instead of hiding them has personally helped my kids be open to all foods. Although it requires hard work on our part as parents with tantrums, a lot of learning, patience and organisation in the kitchen, getting them involved from the beginning plays dividends in the long run.
Not that you need more persuading, but just incase, here are some reasons you should eat all the pumpkin:
- great for your skin
- benefits heart health
- contains antioxidants that lower the risk of cancer
- high in vitamin C – great immunity booster
- and high in vitamin A which helps protect your eyesight.
So, after all of that persuasion, here are some simple vegan and gluten free healthy recipes highlighting the humble ( and versatile) pumpkin.
I know this looks like another basic pumpkin soup recipe, but it’s truly a huge hit with my babes and nephews (and husband). The subtle hint of spices and coconut makes this a winner with the whole family and a really healthy and simple dinner idea.
Pie! Who doesn’t love pie?! This would be a great hands on recipe for the kids to jump in on. The feeling of accomplishment and independence they get from helping make their own special pie is worth every extra minute you spend guiding them while doing so. So worth it.
Pancakes are a Saturday morning staple for us. Mix it up with this recipe one week and you never know, could be your new go to pancakes.
Chickpea desserts are extremely underrated in my opinion. This pumpkin and chickpea blondie gives you everything you’d want in a sweet treat without the heaviness of white flour and processed sugars a traditional blondie would have. Give it a go!
In Aus, these snacks are called LCM’s and are produced with marshmallows and a bunch of processed crap. I used to beg my mum for these and she would rarely buy them but when she gave in, I would be so happy and eat it one huge bite and feel immediately sick after. These won’t make you feel sick but they will fill you with childhood whimsy and have your kids enjoying your trip down memory lane.
Thank God for gluten free pasta and cashew cheese sauce. My husband hated dairy free foods until I surprised him with a cashew based sauce and now he is won over. He didn’t know the difference! This recipe is a bit over an hour but oh so worth it if you wanna hit that mac n cheese craving. With the pumpkin added to the base, this is sure to wins over kids and fussy husbands alike.
I feel like you either love or hate chia puddings. My two year old recently started prepping them for his sister and himself at night so he could wake up to his breaky ready. What is so simple a toddler would willingly meal prep alone?! This! Try it if you love chia.
Hope you found some inspiration to start incorporating pumpkin in different ways and involve your babes to join in on the experience.