Did you know that pumpkins are part of the squash family and make great first foods for little ones?

You can introduce pumpkin in a variety of scrummy ways, either boiled and pureed or cut into fingers and steamed. They’re a perfect way to add a veggie punch into savoury and sweet recipes like soups curries and even sweet desserts like pumpkin pie. Mmmmm!

Weaning with veg

Try to offer a rainbow of veg throughout weaning, including plenty of green, more savoury tasting veg like broccoli and green beans, as well as sweeter root veg like carrot, pumpkin and parsnip.

The more variety your little one tries, the more likely they are to accept new foods when they’re older.

And remember, it can take 10 tries of a new food before it’s accepted so don’t give up!

Pumpkins for babies + toddlers: nutrition top tips!

Pumpkins, like other orange veg and fruit like carrots, butternut squash and mango, supply beta-carotene. This is a plant-based form of vitamin A, which is handy for little ones’ developing vision.

Pumpkin, broccoli and sweetcorn

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Sweet potatoes, pumpkins, apples and blueberries

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Fun fact!

The word pumpkin comes from the Greek word “pepon” and means large melon… and did you know, a pumpkin is actually a fruit?

Sensory fun with orange squash

Pumpkins have beautiful orange skin and, if you’ve picked one up to carve for Hallowe’en, why not let your little one have a feel of the smooth firm skin before you get cutting and scooping? Let them explore the orange flesh with their hands before you prepare it for a yummy recipe.

Any leftover squash chunks or peel could be used with baby friendly paint as a brush or stamp for you little one to create arty masterpieces!

Check out our fun sensory veg painting activity for more ideas!

What to do with pumpkin seeds?

If you’ve scooped out the seeds, let little ones touch them while they’re still a bit slimy from the pumpkin pulp and explore the gooey, slippery textures! It’s a great way to engage the senses but make sure they don’t put seeds in their mouths as they could be a choking risk.

Recipe for pumpkin seeds:

  • rinse the seeds in a sieve
  • boil them in a pan of water for 5-10 minutes,
  • drain,
  • dry on kitchen paper and spread them across a baking sheet
  • drizzle over a little olive oil and roast at 180 degrees C for 8-10 minutes
  • grind them up in a pestle and mortar until they’re a fine powder and use as a topping on porridge or yoghurt

Pumpkin seeds make a nutritious, high fibre snack but remember, it’s not safe to give babies and toddlers whole seeds.

Scrummy pumpkin purees + recipes

A pumpkin isn’t just for Hallowe’en! You can use pumpkins in weaning recipes throughout October to December when it is in season.

Try some deeelicious pumpkin and squash recipes and enjoy them around your Hallowe’en lantern:

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Claire Baseley

Infant nutritionist / Makes Ella's Good