It's fall, ya'll! A time for apple picking, hayrides, corn mazes, and of course, adventures at your local pumpkin patch!
But with so many exciting fall festivities to keep your family busy, struggling with occasional constipation can be tricky—and not much of a treat.
You already know the four p-fruits: prunes, pears, peaches, and plums. But did you know that pumpkins are p-fruits, too?
These gorgeous bright-orange plants offer us more than a great canvas to paint spooky faces on or a delicious pie filling to serve at Thanksgiving.
Pumpkins contain essential nutrients and a wide variety of health benefits, including improving regular bowel movements. The reason? Pumpkins are an excellent source of fiber.
Total Fiber in Pumpkin
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 cup of cooked, fresh pumpkin has 3 grams of fiber, while 1 cup of canned pumpkin has 7 grams of fiber.
How Do Pumpkins Help with Occasional Constipation?
Glad you asked! Like all p-fruits, pumpkins contain a mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber. A quick reminder: soluble fiber softens poop, making it easier to pass, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to stool.
Together, these two types of dietary fiber aid in healthy digestion for kids and adults.
Other Fun Facts about Pumpkins
Fruit vs. Veggie
Let's address the age-old question: Is a pumpkin a fruit or a vegetable?
Though pumpkins are part of the squash family, they're actually a fruit. The reason is, like other fruits you know and love, such as apples or blueberries, pumpkins are the product of a flowering plant (in this case, the Cucurbit family), which is why they contain seeds. Therefore, nutritionists classify them as fruit.
Supports Eye Health
Pumpkins have beta carotene; this is what gives them their signature bright orange color. Our bodies convert this component into Vitamin A, which helps our retinas absorb and process light.
Who needs sugary candy corn when you have the power of pumpkins to keep you moving and grooving? Pumpkins contain high amounts of potassium, in addition to Vitamin C, which gives the body a boost of natural energy.
Fall Pumpkin Recipes
So, it's clear pumpkins have nutrients like fiber that can improve healthy digestion and bowel movements (it's also clear they provide our body with essential vitamins), but how can we get our kids to eat them?
It's unlikely that anyone will grab a spoon and start digging into a can of pumpkin puree. So, to help you get your kids on board with the nutritional benefits of pumpkins, check out these fall-inspired recipes that use this key ingredient:
Protein Pumpkin Oatmeal: Almond butter, pecans, cinnamon—oh my! This recipe has many flavors that complement one another to create a delicious breakfast treat.
Pumpkin Gingerbread Smoothie: With a title like this, is it even necessary to explain why this smoothie is a winner?! This recipe includes additional ingredients like ginger, apple cider vinegar, bananas, almonds, and pecans to create a burst of fall flavors that your kids will love.
Pumpkin Mummy Cookies: It is almost Halloween, after all. This recipe is easy to make, fun to create, and sure to have your kids enjoying pumpkins without thinking twice about it. After they come out of the oven, have the kids help you decorate them to create silly mummy characters—watch the serving size with this one!
Fall Pumpkin Activities
Pumpkin carving is a long-held tradition in many households. But if your family is looking for other creative ways to deck your home out with pumpkins—and have a little fun in the process—here are a few activities they might enjoy:
For a safe, easy way to decorate your pumpkins this year, grab a few paint brushes and bright paint colors and let your kids flex their artistic muscles with some painting! Bring glitter (if you dare), stickers, buttons, and glue you can use to create unique masterpieces.
Have empty plastic juice containers lying around? Put those bottles to work! You can paint each bottle to resemble traditional bowling pins, line them up, and have your kids roll their pumpkins down the lane to get a strike (remember to remove the stem before playing.)
Pumpkin Ring Toss
You'll want to leave the stem on for this one. Line your pumpkins up and have your kids try to land their rings around each stem. You can also turn this into a pumpkin cornhole game by carving out the top of the pumpkins, removing the guts, and letting kids try to get their sandbags to land in each hole.
If you are carving pumpkins or setting up a cornhole tournament, remember to bag and freeze the guts for later and save the seeds, as you can use these items in other nutritional recipes.
Celebrate Fall with Doolies
Stay connected to our blog for more tips, recipes, and ideas on incorporating fiber and p-fruits into your kids' routines. For an easier way to enjoy the delicious benefits of p-fruits, give Doolies a try!
Our snacks are made with real-fruit ingredients like pears and apples and support healthy digestion. Kids who eat Doolies regularly can experience relief from occasional constipation and get back to being kids.