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Get Your Vitamin A During Squash Season

It’s fall (although it feels a little more like this kind of fall right now), which means squash is everywhere! You’ll be seeing a lot more pumpkins and gourds in the craft and home decoration stores, but squash can also add great taste and nutrition to your meals.

Types of Squash

There are many types of squash available right now. You’ll see a mix of summer and winter squash, as varieties of both are available year-round. But since we’re approaching the fall/winter season and (sadly) leaving summer behind, I’ll focus more on winter varieties here. There are 12, including:

  • Butternut squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Buttercup squash
  • Acorn squash

Butternut and acorn squash happen to be my two favorites. For more on the 12 types of winter squash – including pictures of what they look like and recipes – visit Epicurious. Confused about winter versus summer squash? Here’s a good explainer.

Benefits of Squash

Squash contains several key nutrients, including carbohydrates, vitamin A, and vitamin C. For example:

Butternut Squash is a great source of vitamin A and C. A cup of cubed, baked butternut squash contains 82 calories, 21 grams of carbs, 84 mg of calcium (you need 1000 mg/day), 582 mg of potassium (over 3 times as much as a banana), 31 mg of vitamin C (about 1/3 – 1/2 the average person’s daily needs), and over a day’s worth of vitamin A. Butternut squash is a great addition to a post workout meal because of the carbohydrates to replace lost glycogen and the electrolytes to replace those lost in sweat.

Spaghetti Squash is a great lower carb replacement for pasta. A cup of spaghetti squash contains 40 calories, 10 grams of carbs and 181 mg of potassium (about as much as in a serving of Gatorade).

Acorn Squash adds a nice flavor and is a good source of magnesium. One cup of cubed, baked acorn squash contains 115 calories, 30 grams of carbs, 890 mg of potassium, 22 mg of vitamin C (about 1/4 of the average person’s daily needs), and 88 mg of magnesium (about 20% of daily needs).

How To Use Squash

My favorite uses for butternut squash are in soup, and as noodles in a paleo lasagna. I am also a fan of paleo spaghetti using spaghetti squash. My go-to recipes are linked below. Have a favorite? Share in the comments!

Butternut Squash Lasagna – Some of the pictures don’t work, but this recipe is a delicious way to satisfy that Italian food craving.

Paleo Spaghetti – speaking of Italian food, this is a great way to make meat sauce and meatballs on a healthy “pasta.”

Butternut Squash Soup – always great on a cold night!

Stuffed Delicata – as a bonus, this recipe for stuffed delicata squash sent by former member Kelly Alice (KA) when I was first trying out paleo.

For the vegetarians in the crowd, this Farro Risotto with Acorn Squash is, while time consuming, worth every minute.

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