Friday, November 5, 2010

"Super Squash" a Hearty Food for Winter

As the temperature drops this autumn, hearty foods become more appealing and nourishing. One tasty type of vegetable to warm you up during the colder months is winter squash.

Winter squash comes in many different forms, from the small delicate squash to the hearty butternut squash. The ever-popular butternut squash and acorn squash have a slightly sweet flavor, while other types of winter squash have a milder flavor. Whatever the variety, squash is most often prepared by cutting in half, removing the seeds, and baking until tender.

Besides being delicious, squash is a good source of fiber and several nutrients. In general, winter squash is a good source of Vitamin A, potassium, magnesium and several B vitamins. There are many different ways you can include winter squash in your menu, which makes it one of the most versatile vegetables around. Squash is delicious when eaten alone with spices and herbs, roasted with other vegetables, or pureed in soups. Squash can also be "sneaked" into many foods easily. This not only increases the amount of nutrients in a dish, but it also provides added depth and flavor to a simple recipe. An example of how to sneak squash into a meal is by adding pureed butternut squash into marinara sauce.

Add squash to your next meal by trying one of these easy options:

  • Replace wheat pasta with spaghetti squash strands
  • Add small pieces of cooked butternut squash and black beans in a cheese quesadilla
  • Roast acorn squash with maple syrup and brown sugar

For more information about cooking the various types of winter squash, watch this video from Bastyr nutrition faculty member Cynthia Lair.

- Kristi Lyle, dietetic intern, and Debra A. Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University

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