Like most of my parent friends, I’m always trying to get my kids to eat more vegetables. Yes, I even bought that Jessica Seinfeld (why do I always want to say Jessica Simpson?) book, Deceptively Delicious, and I found some good recipes. BUT, the whole premise of that book, and of many of these types of books, is hiding the vegetables. Brownies with spinach in them! The kids’ll never know!
But what good is that going to do me? So, my kids learn to love brownies with spinach hidden in them, but then never learn to love spinach itself. I want recipes that my kids will love, but also ones that don’t disguise the veggies. I want the kids to realize they love swiss chard and zucchini and turnips. (OK, maybe not turnips, cause even I think those taste funky.) I want them to know they are eating vegetables, and to love it.
Meanwhile, I was reading this nutrition book called Superfoods Rx, by Steven Pratt. The premise is essentially that there are 14 foods that are super healthy and nutrient dense, and you should try to eat them as often as possible. One of these is pumpkin. Fabulous! But how on earth do I get my kids to eat pumpkin? I’m not going to roast a whole pumpkin all the time, so my only option then is canned pumpkin. I wasn’t sure that setting them down with a can and a spoon was going to do the trick.
So I created Pumpkin Nuggets, affectionately known in our house as Pumpkin Piles. It’s a simple way to get a different vegetable in your kids, and they are actually tasting pumpkin and, well, liking it.
makes approx. 20 nuggets
- vegetable oil spray for baking sheet
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/2 small sweet apple, such as Gala, finely grated
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
- 2 tbsp oat bran
- 2 tbsp flaxseed meal
Preheat the oven to 350° and spray a baking sheet with vegetable spray. Combine the pumpkin, apple, egg, brown sugar, spice and salt in a bowl. Mix thoroughly. Add the dry ingredients: flour, oat bran, and flaxseed meal. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the nuggets are cooked through.
I find that adding the apple keeps the nuggets kind of moist while adding a healthy kind of sweetness.
I’m a huge fan of flaxseed meal and oat bran in many of my recipes that call for flour. In things like cookies, banana bread, etc., I’ll often substitute a small part of the flour with flaxseed meal and oat bran for added omega 3s and fiber. Make sure you only use flaxseed MEAL, which is ground flaxseeds, because our bodies can’t really digest whole flaxseeds.
Yummy, moist, healthy, and child-friendly!