Photo by Nuraan Ackers
If you follow me in social media, especially Instagram, surely you have seen how much my little one and I love smoothies. We drink a natural, organic, home-made smoothie almost every day. I would say we have a smoothie 98% of the time. My little one has been having a smoothie pretty much since he started weaning. We have it for either breakfast, mid-morning or lunch.
I promise you this smoothie will be an all-time favourite and it’s perfect for weaning babies too. The star in this smoothie is pumpkin. Pumpkin? Yes, all those pumpkins you bought for Halloween decoration. The truth is that pumpkins are a superfood and they are not only good as ornaments, they are actually incredibly good for you. The squash known as pumpkin is one of the most nutritionally valuable foods known to man. By the way, did you know that pumpkin is actually a fruit? Yes, like Melons it’s a member of the gourd family.
Photo by Nuraan Ackers
These gems contain one of the richest sources of bioavailable carotenoids. Carotenoids are deep orange, yellow or red coloured fat soluble compounds that occur in different plants. Vegetables and fruits rich in carotenoids are carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, orange bell peppers and oranges. Pumpkin in particular contains alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, potassium and magnesium. Food rich in carotenoids are key in protecting our skin and eyes. Also, it has been linked to reduce the risk of certain cancers and eye disease and strengthening our immune system.
Both alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, as well as beta cryptoxanthin, are what’s known as pro vitamin A carotenoids. This in other words means that our body can convert them into vitamin A. As opposed to animal sources of vitamin A (such as liver), these plant sources cannot provide a toxic amount of the vitamin. Also, be aware that high amounts of vitamin A from animal sources during pregnancy can be harmful to your unborn baby. In fact, the NHS advice is not to consume liver or products such as pâté and vitamin A supplements during pregnancy. However, eating plant food rich in carotenoids is recommended, safe and beneficial for you and your baby. As explained here, vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that plays an important role in the optimum function of our immune system and much more.
To continue with the recipe, this is a very filling and rich smoothie. It also has a very autumnal flavour as it has spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. I also added plant protein for an extra kick of goodness.
So, let’s make the most out of this pumpkin season!
Photo By Nuraan Ackers
200 gr steamed pumpkin or butternut squash (peeled, chopped and cooked, about 300 gr raw)
1 big banana
1 medium apple
1 tsp / 7.5 gr cacao powder
1 Tbsp / 15 gr hemp protein powder
½ tsp / 5 gr cinnamon
2-3 Tbsp oats (optional)
1 Tbsp / 15 gr almond butter or pumpkin seed butter (optional)
1/4 tsp / 2.5 gr vanilla essence
250 ml oat milk (any plant milk)
A pinch of grated nutmeg
- Peel, chop and steam the pumpkin or butternut squash.
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
- To serve you can add a pinch of extra nutmeg or cinnamon if desired.