We’re Nuts about Butternut Squash
As summer transitions to fall, we begin to set aside our light summer salads and search for heartier foods. Never fear, you need not look any further than the decorative squash on your kitchen table! Specifically, the butternut squash, which is one of the most popular varietals of winter squash. But don’t let the name trick you—winter squash is grown in the summer and harvested in the fall, so if you want to grow it yourself, you’ll need to plan ahead when roasted dishes and hearty soups are the furthest thing from your mind. Luckily, squash are generally fairly inexpensive at your local grocery store, so you can just plan for next year’s garden if you have a green thumb.
Butternut squash is an excellent source of fiber and potassium. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), “one cup of cooked, cubed butternut squash, containing around 205 grams, contains 82 calories, 1.8 grams (g) of protein, 0.18 g of fat, and 21.50 g of carbohydrates, including 4 g of sugar and 6.6 grams of dietary fiber. It also provides 84 milligrams (mg) of calcium, 1.23 mg of iron, 582 mg of potassium, 59 mg of magnesium, 55 mg of phosphorus, 31 milligrams of vitamin C, and 1144 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin A.”
Now that you are assuredly excited about incorporating butternut squash into your cooking rotation, be sure not to forget the seeds! Although commonly tossed out into the trash or compost pile, these seeds are actually pretty healthy all on their own. “Squash seeds are rich in protein and mono- and polyunsaturated fats and make for a heart-healthy snack . . . A half cup of these seeds also supplies almost a third of the zinc RDA for men and almost half of that for women. Zinc is important for most body processes and structures, and deficiency often leads to reduced immune function.” The seeds are also very easy to prepare. Simply remove the stringy bits around them and place the seeds on a baking tray with some salty water. Bake them in your oven and once the water has evaporated, you are good to go! These make a great snack for when you’re on the go preparing for the upcoming holiday season.
The time has come to move that squash from being merely decorative to star of your next dish! What is your favorite way to prepare butternut squash? Let us know in the comments!
*Vemma Nutrition Company recommends following a healthy approach to weight loss by consulting with your physician or health care professional prior to starting any new exercise or diet plan.
 LD, Megan Ware RDN. “Butternut Squash: Health Benefits, Uses, and Possible Risks.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 18 May 2017, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/284479.php.
 Nouvel-Kennedy, Stephanie. “Is Butternut Squash Good for You?” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, 3 Oct. 2017, www.livestrong.com/article/433699-is-butternut-squash-good-for-you/.