Healthy Pumpkin Recipes for Fall

It’s pumpkin season -- and your favorite fall ingredient shouldn’t be limited to pie -- try something new this year! “Canned pumpkin puree is an excellent substitute for high-fat dairy products,” says Jackie Newgent, R.D., author of 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes. “It adds creaminess but not fat.” What it does supply: cancer-fighting vitamin A. Just three tablespoons of pumpkin puree covers your vitamin A needs for the entire day. Use these tricks to make your fall treats much more diet-friendly.

Brownies (340 calories, 18 g fat per piece)

Healthy Trick: Bake a pumpkin version to save more than 135 calories and 15 grams of fat each. It couldn’t be easier: Simply stir together a 19.5 ounce brownie mix with a 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree and bake at 350 F for about a half-hour. (Don’t add the oil, water and egg to brownie mix.) They’ll be fudgier and a little denser than a typical brownie -- but oh so good. On the Cookies & Cups blog, you can see how delish they’ll look.

Broccoli Cheese Soup (580 calories, 47 g fat per 1½ cups)

Healthy Trick: You can get away with a lot less butter and high-fat dairy by whisking ¾ cup pumpkin puree for every 2 cups of vegetable broth, says Newgent. Check out the full recipe, which slashes 380 calories and 34 grams of fat.

Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino (280 calories, 2 g fat for a small without whipped cream).

Healthy Trick: Whip up a pumpkin smoothie in your blender. Follow this recipe from Whole Foods Market, and your drink will be about 120 calories lighter.  

Baked Mac and Cheese (639 calories, 39 g fat per cup)

Healthy Trick: You can use about 1/3 less cheese in your favorite recipe if you stir in a cup of pumpkin puree, says Newgent. Simply mix it in right along with the cheese. The kids won’t notice a difference (the pumpkin is orange, after all) and they’ll get 60 calories and 6 grams of fat less per serving -- a savings that really adds up if your kid (or you) is mac-and-cheese obsessed.  

Vanilla Ice Cream (230 calories, 14 g fat per 1/2 cup)

Healthy Trick: Make your own pumpkin fro yo! You don’t even need an ice-cream maker. To save 150 calories and 13g fat, follow the instructions from Babble’s blogger  by simply mixing together 1 cup non-fat or low-fat vanilla yogurt, 1 cup pumpkin puree, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Place the bowl in the freezer and stir every half hour until it reaches the consistency you like.