This Thanksgiving season cozy up to the sweet comfort of winter squash. This family of nutrient packed vegetables include pumpkin, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, and butternut squash. These fall favorites provide numerous health benefits that may help reduce various types of illness such as heart and respiratory disease, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. Benefits are also found in the red, orange, and yellow pigment of the skin where high levels of alpha- carotene and beta- carotene convert to Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for vision health and can help boost immune function. Winter squash is also packed with fiber which can help keep blood sugar levels stable.
The best part is that most winter squash varieties are naturally sweet which makes it a great food for kids to try. You can bake, broil, or steam the vegetable to vary its texture. The healthiest way to prepare winter squash is to peel the vegetable, remove the seeds, cut the squash into cubes, and then steam them for about seven minutes. If you don’t want to peel the vegetable, you can cut it in half and poke the meat of the vegetable with a fork. Then throw it in the oven and bake until tender. For a power packed holiday treat, try roasting butternut squash with a sprinkle of brown sugar and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Avey, Tori. “Maple Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash – Vegan Recipe.” Tori Avey, 18 Nov. 2019, https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/maple-cinnamon-roasted-butternut-squash/.
Collins, Karen. “The Best Winter Foods for Kids.” EatRight, 13 Dec. 2018, https://www.eatright.org/food/planning-and-prep/cooking-tips-and-trends/best-winter-foods-for-kids.
“Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin A.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/#h7.
Swartzendruber, Kris. “Enjoy the Taste and Health Benefits of Winter Squash.” MSU Extension, Michigan State University Extension, 2 Oct. 2018, https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/enjoy_the_taste_and_health_benefits_of_winter_squash.