'Squash' Some Winter on Your Plate

  Health Tips with Karla Heintz (BSc), Nutrition Educator

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Winter squash is richly in supply.  Not only are they financially feasible, but a great investment into your body’s overall health.  This includes: butternut squash (which looks like an inflamed pear), acorn squash (with a green skin), spaghetti squash (which is yellow), and the well-known hollowed out lanterns called pumpkins.

All of these are jam-packed with carotenoids, which have protective effects against many forms of cancer.  The richer the color of squash, the more carotenoids it contains.  Interestingly, many people love pumpkin seeds, as they are known to be a good source of zinc.  However, if you want to maximize the zinc content – eat the shell too.  When you roast the seeds, roast them still inside the shell as it is in the endosperm envelope directly beneath the shell that a high concentration of zinc exists.

Some fun unique ways to add winter squash into your menu:

  1. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, and roast upside down in the oven.  When it is cooked take a fork and start stripping the spaghetti pieces out of the shell.  Add some pasta sauce, and Parmesan to it and you have a tasty side dish.
  2. Boil cubes of butternut squash along with potatoes, celery, carrots and onion.  When it is cooked place it in a blender to puree. Top with seasoning for a truly filling soup.
  3. Cut the acorn squash in half, and roast it in the oven. When it is almost cooked remove it from the oven, and fill it with a mixture of: cooked quinoa, feta, diced tomatoes, olive oil and oregano. Cover with foil and place back in oven until fully cooked.

Karla Heintz (BSc) Nutrition Educator and Author of

‘Picky! Not Me Mom! A parents’ guide to children’s nutrition.