Thursday, June 5, 2014

Let's talk squash.

It's nearing summer time, and we're all getting a little more concerned with healthier eating. Today I want you to try something new, and a little weird. Spaghetti squash. You've probably heard of it, but were too afraid to try it...I mean, yeah. A squash that replaces pasta? LOL no. But seriously, Spaghetti squash is worth the try. Why? Well, I'll tell you. 

Spaghetti squash gets its name from the fact that when it is cooked, the inside flesh pulls out of the shell in long strands, resembling spaghetti pasta. Oval shaped and yellow, spaghetti squash can be considered a summer or winter squash and is available year-round in most grocery stores.


Spaghetti squash contains a wide range of vitamins. A 1-cup serving offers 5.4 mg of vitamin C, which is almost 10 percent of the recommended daily intake, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. Other vitamins include A, B-6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid and vitamin K. A report from Colorado State University explains that obtaining your daily vitamins through food sources such as spaghetti squash may be more beneficial than taking vitamin supplements, as food contains several chemicals that work together, making the vitamins function more efficiently. Researchers from China, published in the January 2011 issue of "Journal of Environmental Science and Health," report that the flavonoids found in plant foods work with vitamins and play a role in protecting the body from cancer.


A 1-cup serving of spaghetti squash also contains several minerals that are vital to good health. The dominant mineral is manganese, with 0.2 mg, which is 8 percent of the RDI. Manganese is needed only in small amounts, but it has a big job. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports manganese aids in the production of healthy bones, tissues and sex hormones. It also plays a part in metabolism, regulation of blood sugar, absorption of calcium and the functioning of the nervous system. Other minerals found in smaller amounts in spaghetti squash include potassium, magnesium, calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, sodium, zinc and selenium.
Apart from these super science-y facts about spaghetti squash, it's really tasty, and one cup of squash is only about 30 calories! In my opinion, this just leaves wiggle room for yummy meat sauce and some fetta cheese sprinkled on top! Spaghetti squash is Extremely good for you, but it's also yummy and a really fun food to make!

Little cooking tip from someone who has tried it both ways. Cook it first, THEN cut it. Just pop the squash in a pan and cook it in the oven for about 45 min.-1 hour. Then, take a tea towel and wrap the squash in it, so you can hold it without burning yourself. The squash will cut like butter. If you try to cut the squash raw, you will be there for awhile. Spaghetti squash is quite solid when it's raw. Once you've got the squash cut in half, just take a fork and scrape out the insides(hint:This is a great task for the kids!) And voila! You have healthy spaghetti. 

But Spaghetti squash isn't limited to meat sauce. It also makes good mac and cheese. Just whip up your favorite cheese sauce, add in some peas, or broccoli, or tuna, or mushrooms, or whatever you like to add to your macaroni and cheese, and mix the sauce in with the squash noodles. There you are. Two recipes for one squash! 

A little word to the wise, though. cooked spaghetti squash doesn't do well as leftovers. The taste doesn't change at all, but it gets really watery and mushy after awhile, so eat it all. Save it for a family dinner, or buy a small squash.

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1 comment:

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