Fall in love with Pumpkin Bars

September 28th, 2014 by Live Well Omaha Kids

185042164Written by Courtney Brewer, Live Well Omaha Kids

It’s that time of year. You know the time… when we gather up the family to head out to the apple orchards, corn mazes… and pumpkin patches. Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year, mostly due to the scents alone. I fill my house with the smell of pumpkin spice, get out my fall decorations and start to plan what yummy autumn treats we can bake over the weekend. My father-in-law loves to plant pumpkins in his garden and share them with us, but it’s always a family tradition to take the kids to the pumpkin patch to pick out their very own pumpkin for painting, carving – or “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle masking” – as my eldest is planning to do with the GREEN pumpkin he picked out this weekend.

While we most often associate pumpkins with calorie-rich desserts, did you know that pumpkin is actually a very low calorie vegetable? One hundred grams of pumpkin fruit has just 26 calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. It’s rich in dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins. The vegetable is one of the food items recommended by dieticians in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs. Pumpkin is a storehouse of many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-A, vitamin-C and vitamin-E. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes. It’s also an essential vitamin for good visual sight and research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A help a body protects against lung and oral cavity cancers.

Pumpkin seeds are also an excellent source of dietary fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which are good for heart health. So be sure to keep those seeds when you’re carving your pumpkins and put them off to the side to roast as a snack!

Need some ideas for a tasty pumpkin dessert to make? Be sure to print this recipe out and hang it on your fridge, stick it in your recipe box or pin it on a Pinterest board. This Pumpkin Bars recipe comes from our friends at the Cardiac Center of Creighton University and their Recipes from the Heart of Creighton’s Cardiac Center 2nd Edition cookbook:


1 c. sugar
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
4 egg whites
2 c. canned pumpkin
2-1/4 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix sugar, applesauce, egg whites and pumpkin. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to first mixture and blend completely. Pour into a jelly-roll pan that has been sprayed with vegetable oil spray and lightly dusted with flour. Bake a 350 for 30-35 minutes or until the center is firm to touch.

4 oz. non-fat cream cheese
1 tsp. margarine
1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Yield: 24 bars

Nutrition information per bar:
Calories – 115
Fat – 0 grams
Saturated fat – 0 grams
Cholesterol – 0 milligrams
Sodium – 85 milligrams
Fiber – 1 gram


* Pumpkin nutrition information was sourced from http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pumpkin.html






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