Eat More Squash! Nutritious, Low Calorie, and Delicious

By Nicole German (RD, LD)

healthy-squash

When I was a kid, I always thought of squash as the pureed vegetable you give to babies. Since becoming a nutrition expert, I now know there are multiple kinds of squash with a variety of flavors and textures.

These days, squash is cool again. Foodies are creating acorn squash bowls, and dieters are making spaghetti squash. What was old is new again!

Plus squash can be a nutritious part of your healthy weight loss diet!

6 Great Squashes to Try

 

Acorn

acorn squashAlso known as winter squash. This variety can be found all year long, but more commonly in fall and summer.

Did you know? This is one of the best to buy and keep in storage as it will last for months and not go bad! Carnival squash is also a type of acorn squash that is not as common, and not as flavorful. You often see this variety around Halloween because the rind displays festive bright colors.1 cup is 22 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, and an excellent source of vitamin A.

Butternut

butternutAlso can be found all year long with peak season in fall and winter. Butternut squash may remind you of sweet potatoes with a hint of squash flavor.

Most use butternut squash as they would a sweet potato—in a soup, stew, baked, or with some butter and pinch of sugar!

Hubbard

hubbard squashThis squash will last even longer than the acorn squash. So, buy it now before it goes out of season. This one is also the ugliest and is hard to cut into because of its thick skin. Hubbard squash is similar to pumpkin in size, texture, and flavor.

Pumpkin

roasted pumpkin Yes, a pumpkin is a type of squash! Pumpkin is not just for Halloween. It is consumed all over the world, including Japan, China, and India. Many bake or roast with spices and sometimes butter.

Others use for dessert. 1 cup is about 50 calories, 12 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber. Choose green or white pumpkin as they have more flesh and less rind.

Spaghetti

spaghetti_squashThis squash is one of my favorites because it is fun to eat as a low carb analog to pasta. The flavor is mild, but buttery and is unique for its stringy texture. Click here for a recipe example.

Sometimes, zucchini strips or shredded pieces are used instead of pasta as well.1 cup is only 50 calories, 10 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber.

Summer

yellow_squashThis is your typical yellow summer squash that is plentiful during the summer, but can be found for most of the year. This is perhaps the mildest squash, contains a higher water content, and the lowest calories and carbohydrates.

There are maybe a dozen more squash varieties. The others vary in size and texture, but are all similar to the ones described above. Why not expand your food comfort zone by trying them all!

Do you have a favorite?

3 Comments

  1. Brad

    Spaghetti squash recipes have been the staple of our weight loss diet! My wife has lost 60# in 10 months and I have now lost 35 in 3 months. We watch all our calories using my fitness pal and our fitbits. But these only work w the right diet. I make my living on the road in sales. I now take pre-measured meals w me on the road in a cooler. We eat 2-4 spaghetti squash a week! Just add some meat (ham, turkey, lean ground chuck, sausage), veggies, and season salts. A heavy filling meal that is about 250 calories! Add a low cal Greek vanilla yogurt with it and you have a great balanced meal at 330 cal! It works!

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  2. Rachelle

    I love squash! My favorites are butternut, spaghetti and pumpkin. So many great recipes for all three.

    Reply
  3. Spectra

    I love acorn squash–my in laws always grow it in their garden and they give me two or three of them at a time in the fall. I cut them in half, then I microwave them for 3 minutes to soften them. Then I cut them into cubes and toss them with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and garlic and roast them–it’s really tasty!

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