To me, there are very few good things about winter. It’s cold, the sun doesn’t shine, and everything is white. However, one thing I do love about the winter season is the sense of coziness that comes along with it. The perfect winter day consists of getting all cuddled up under a blanket, watching a movie with a nice big mug filled with a warm beverage, and diving in to a warm bowl of silky, creamy, oh so satisfying squash.
Yup, you read that right. Squash is one of my very favorite winter foods. It has been a favorite food of mine ever since I was little because squash are so comforting and versatile, you can practically make any dish you want out of them!
There are about 15 different types of winter squash and the most common are butternut, spaghetti, acorn, and pumpkin. This winter veggie is not only delicious, it is jam packed with health benefits. Squash are filled with fiber that helps keep you full, have about half of your daily recommended value of vitamin C which helps prevent colds, and can even help to lower blood pressure. Squash is a very dense, filling food that is low in calories. They range between 45-90 calories per cup (cooked) depending on which type you are eating. It also has a low glycemic index/load so eating it will not spike your blood sugar which helps to stabilize your insulin levels. The carotenoids and beta-carotene in squash help to protect our eye sight but also help to protect our cells from the damaging effects of environmental pollution in the air we breathe. These nutrients, also called flavonoids, have been proven to have a potential role in slowing cancer cell growth.
You might be thinking to yourself, “Wow this all sounds amazing but what can I make??” Well I have an answer for that too. The next time you want something warm and cozy to fill you up try spaghetti squash with tomatoes and basil , squash apple casserole or butternut squash soup.
Written by Katherine Esielionis, nutrition student at Framingham State University