Posted in Healthy Eating

Winter Squash & Pumpkins: Super Foods with Great Possibilities - By Gretchen Scalpi RD, CDE

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, author and Certified Wellcoach®. Gretchen has worked with hundreds of clients in her own private nutrition practice since 2002, providing nutrition and wellness coaching in the areas of diabetes, weight management, food sensitivities, and general wellness. Gretchen provides lectures and workshops on a variety of nutrition topics to corporate and community groups.  She is the author of the "The Everything Diabetes Cookbook, 2nd ed.," and "The Everything Guide to Managing and Reversing Prediabetes".  If you would like to learn more about Gretchen, or read her newsletter or blog visit http://www.nutritionxpert.com.

 

Now that we are well into the fall season and marching our way to the holidays, I am sure you have noticed the large assortment of winter squash and pumpkins everywhere.  Pumpkins certainly revive our desire for traditional pumpkin pie, but there is so much more that can be done with pumpkins, and the endless varieties of winter squash.

 

One of the wonderful things about winter squash is that it stores well and can be kept on hand for a much longer period of time compared to other vegetables. If winter squash is un-cut, and stored in a cool location, it can keep for up to six months.  Cooked, pureed squash can be frozen for 3- 6 months. This gives you an opportunity to buy squash when it’s economical and readily available, then store enough to take you through the winter and into early spring.

 

If you are aiming to include more “super-foods” in your life, squash and pumpkins definitely qualify!  They are all quite high in fiber, and contain generous amounts of the antioxidant “carotene”. The antioxidant activity of carotene helps reduce the risk of many types of cancer. In addition, carotene benefits the immune system and eye health. Winter squash is a great source of vitamin C, as well as folic acid, potassium and magnesium. Filling, yet low in calories, a 1 cup serving of squash provides roughly 80-115 calories and 3-10 grams of fiber.

 

The best ways to cook squash or pumpkins is to bake it, because baking brings out the sweet flavor. Simply cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and bake the halves flesh-side down on a baking sheet or stone that has been lightly coated with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Bake at 375°-400° degrees until tender (usually about 45 minutes).

 

When the baked squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh to use right away or store in the freezer.  Besides using as a cooked vegetable, squash can work its way into many other recipes for soups, stews, breads, and rice or pasta dishes. There are endless possibilities, and the more you work with squash, you will see just how versatile this vegetable is!

 

Need a few recipe ideas for making squash or pumpkins this holiday season?  Check out the healthy squash recipes at Eating Well  or in my  book The Everything Guide to Managing and Reversing Pre-Diabetes. 

 

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, author and Certified Wellcoach®. Gretchen has worked with hundreds of clients in her own private nutrition practice since 2002, providing nutrition and wellness coaching in the areas of diabetes, weight management, food sensitivities, and general wellness. Gretchen provides lectures and workshops on a variety of nutrition topics to corporate and community groups.  She is the author of the "Pre-Diabetes: Your Second Chance at Health," and "The Everything Guide to Managing and Reversing Prediabetes".  If you would like to learn more about Gretchen, or read her newsletter visit http://www.nutritionxpert.com.

 

This article is courtesy of the Top 1% Club and the Top 1% Club Mentor Gail Kasper. For additional information on Gail Kasper, her television appearances and speaking engagements, please visit gailkasper.com.