Making Cream of Wheat a Pumpkiny Treat

October 31, 2011 at 9:31 am

Cream of Wheat.JPG

Melissa Ramos is a volunteer and guest-blogger for Stanford Blood Center. Here, she shares a fall-inspired, iron-rich recipe to help boost your hemoglobin level in preparation for donating blood.

During the medical history screening, blood donors must meet a hemoglobin-level requirement of at least 12.5 g/dL. One of the causes of low hemoglobin is a low-iron diet. Cream of Wheat is an excellent source of iron and can be prepared quickly compared to other iron-rich sources like beef, chicken, and other meats. Because Cream of Wheat can be rather bland alone, I wanted to share this great fall-inspired recipe that makes Cream of Wheat tasty!

The following recipe came from one of my favorite sites, however I made a few changes to make it even more suitable for preparation of an upcoming blood donation.

Pumpkin Spice Swirl Maple-Date Cream of Wheat

makes 2 bowls

2 cups of water

1/3 cup Cream of Wheat

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

3 Tbsp maple syrup

1/4 cup chopped dates

1/3 cup canned pumpkin

1-2 tsp vegan buttery spread

soy milk for topping (use sparingly)

garnish: dash of cinnamon, chopped dates

optional: chopped pecans


1. Bring your water to a boil. Add the salt and Cream of Wheat. Constantly stir gently. Bring to a strong boil, then reduce heat to medium. Be sure to keep a close eye. Once it starts to boil it will overflow quickly!

2. Continue stirring until the cereal thickens. At this point you can stir in the cinnamon, dates and maple syrup.

3. When cereal has cooked into a thick, hydrated consistency (like thick applesauce) turn the heat to low.

4. Stir in the pumpkin over low heat. You can either stir it in completely or you can leave it swirled gently into the cereal.

5. Turn off heat and spoon cereal into bowls. Add the vegan buttery spread, a dash of cinnamon (I added more to give it an extra “spice” flavor) and a splash of milk on top. Add a few leftover chopped dates as garnish.

A few of my own recommendations:

• Dates are a good source of iron. If they don’t appeal to you, try raisins as a great alternative.

• Use the soymilk sparingly. Calcium can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb iron. Although it’s naturally low in calcium, many manufacturers add it to their product.

• Enjoy with a glass of vitamin C-rich grapefruit juice to help your body absorb the iron.

How do you eat your Cream of Wheat? What other meals do you like to cook in preparation of your donation?