Squashtastic

I am not a “winter person.” Yeah the holidays are great and getting granted a snow day at school was THE BEST as a kid…but as an adult, I’d rather reside in a milder climate. Maybe it’s the fact that we currently rent an apartment with no accompanying garage and scraping snow and ice off my windshield on the daily makes for an automatic chip on the shoulder. Or perhaps it’s my fair skin that is destined to be glowing, Casper the ghost white toned from months November through March-not cute. Either way, it’s happening and there’s nothing I can do to stop it… so let’s find the silver lining here…

SQUASH! WINTER squash! This star super food of autumn is one of MY personal highlights of this time of year. I don’t really dig the summer squashes so much-zucchini just isn’t my thing. But WINTER squash, I have loved since as long as I can remember. Acorn, butternut, stripetti (did you even know that was a kind?) spaghetti…icantgetenough! The reason I love it so much….it’s super versatile and SUPER good for you! Sometimes it’s hard to think of something wholesome AND carb rich for post workout noshing. This is where my love for squash becomes applicable in life. Acorn squash packs 30g of carbs per 1 cup and a whopping 9g of fiber to boot! I pack this along to down post WOD as I drive my 30 minute return home after a workout sesh-put some cinnamon, coconut butter and walnuts on this….mm-mm-MM! REAL* good stuff! BTW, per my husband, I’m pretty fantastic when it comes to slapping some random ingredients together into an amazing outcome of a dish. So, for the most part that’s how I roll, no recipe needed. HOWEVER as far as acorn squash goes this one is the CHAMPION of those I’ve tried…anything that uses candy in the title is a winner in my book! So, on a lower carb, but no less delicious note, comes butternut and spaghetti squashes. I choose these dudes to help beef my meals without adding a ton of extra carbs, fat or protein. If you zone your diet or count your macros, these squashes are going to count as carbohydrate, but not as much as acorn 10-15g vs 30g, respectively.  I killed some spaghetti  squash today in this little ditty I call ground beef, broccoli, and squash…on and I added avocado and garlic. BAM!

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If you’re more of a type A and prefer to play by the rules…here are two (one and two) butternut squash recipes that have received my stamp of approval.

On a nutritional note, these varieties of squash are high in vitamin A, C and B3 (niacin,) and also contains minerals like potassium, folate and calcium. Plus any foods that are THAT brightly colored have some inherent benefits in the PHYTONUTRIENTS  aka “color nutrients.” For those who aren’t nutrition nerds, phytonutrients are naturally occurring compounds in colorful fruits and vegetables. They have health-promoting properties including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and liver-health-promoting activities.  The old slogan “5 a day the color way” wasn’t a joke-color nutrition is a REAL* thing!

So, yeah, I just spent an entire page of text talking about edible gourds…#sorrythatimnotsorry! I feel like a lot of people shy away from weird shaped foods which they aren’t sure how to cook.  Don’t make this mistake! Keep it in the back of your mind…while it’s full tilt holiday treat season out there in the grocery stores, remember that the cold months bring a little bit more the produce aisle, as well! Check out one of the recipes above or make your own. Get inventive, people!

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