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How canned pumpkin can help you feed your baby on the cheap

I bumbled down the baby food aisle, simultaneously sorting coupons, comparing costs, and preventing my 2-year-old from pulling my 6-month-old’s arm off. I wanted to give up and leave the store when I realized that one jar of pureed veggies cost more than an entire bag of carrots. Wasn’t there a cheaper option for baby food?

Isn't there a cheaper way to buy baby food?

A Eureka Moment on the Canned Veggie Aisle

I reluctantly plopped a few baby food jars in my cart and turned the corner to the canned veggie aisle. It was Thanksgiving time, and I was picking up canned pumpkin to make pie. Before putting the can of pumpkin in the cart, I flipped it over to look at the label:

½ cup canned pumpkin =

0g added sugar

0g sodium

4 grams fiber

Good source of potassium

Excellent source of vitamin A

4% of the day’s iron

½ cup babyfood carrots =

0g added sugar

0g sodium

1 g fiber

Good source of potassium

Excellent source of vitamin A

0% of the day’s iron

Eureka! Who needs baby food carrots when canned pumpkin provides similar nutrition at a fraction of the cost (1 can of pumpkin = $.33/baby serving VS. 1 jar of baby food carrots = $1.19/serving)

I put a few extra cans of pumpkin in my cart and headed home to experiment on my children.

My toddler's new favorite food

At snack time that afternoon, I plopped plain pumpkin on my 2-year-old’s plate and spoon-fed some to my 6-month-old. I wasn’t sure if anyone would eat it, and planned on sliding it back off their plates and into the pumpkin cookies I was going to make that afternoon.

But I didn’t need to slide any off my 2-year-old’s plate.

She ended up eating the entire can.

And then asked for more.

How could this be? Who eats unsweetened, unsalted canned pumpkin?

Babies and toddlers, that’s who! I’ve since served canned pumpkin to many toddlers and they all eat it - and like it!

Canned pumpkin for the win! It’s easy to eat, salt-free, sugar-free, and doubles as adult food - which means it’s not wasted when the baby grows up.

3 Ways to use Canned Pumpkin

My oldest is now in middle school, but I still catch her “sneaking” spoonfuls of canned pumpkin whenever I’m making pumpkin recipes. While I no longer serve it to her friends at snacktime, I do serve it to my DDI VANTAGE families every chance I get!

For cooking class last month we made this pumpkin curry. One mom told me her husband had thirds!

For November’s socialization in Tooele, we made this adorable pumpkin dip. Even the pickiest eaters loved it!

For cooking class in November, we will be making these flourless pumpkin muffins. The recipe focuses on WIC foods (peanut butter, eggs and pumpkin).

Class is Tuesday Nov 15th at 6:30 pm. Interested in signing up? Click on this link:

Canned pumpkin is a bargain superfood. It might not be super enough to keep your 2-year-old from pulling your baby’s arm off, but it can save you cash at the grocery store, which is something we all need these days.

Hope to see you at cooking class next week!

~Nicole, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

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