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2. Butternut Squash

Shaped like a gigantic orange pear with an elongated top, butternut squash can weigh from 2 to 5 pounds. You can cut the top portion from the bulb portion of the squash. There aren't any seeds in the top part, so if you remove the skin, it's easy to cut the flesh into cubes. You can do the same with the bulb piece, once you scoop out the seeds with a large metal spoon. The skin is particularly thick and hard on this squash, so be extra cautious with your knife. I find a large chef's knife works best.

You can buy 10-ounce bags of diced butternut squash (Stahlbush Island Farms brand) in the frozen section of your nearby Whole Foods Market. It doesn't get any more convenient than that!

Use them in:

  • Soups
  • Pasta dishes (even as filling for ravioli)
  • Rice dishes

One cup of cooked, diced butternut squash has:

  • 82 calories, 6 grams fiber
  • Vitamins: 22,867 IU vitamin A (653% DV), 31 mg vitamin C (41% DV), 39 mcg folic acid (10% DV)
  • Minerals: 84 mg calcium (8% DV), 59 mg magnesium (19% DV), 582 mg potassium (12% DV)
  • Bonus: 2.6 mg of vitamin E (18% DV)

 

3. Spaghetti Squash

A spaghetti squash looks like a small yellow watermelon, and weighs anywhere from 2 to 5 pounds. This squash is usually prepared by cutting it in half lengthwise with a sturdy knife and baking it, cut-side down, in a baking dish with 1/4-inch of water. (At 375 degrees, baking will take about 35 minutes.) Here's the fun part: When you scrape out the inside flesh of the squash halves it easily separates into pasta-like strands.

Use them:

  • As a substitute for pasta in some dishes
  • Served cold as a salad ingredient
  • Topped or dressed with flavorful ingredients for a side dish

One cup of cooked spaghetti squash will give you:

  • 42 calories, 2.2 grams fiber
  • Vitamins: 170 IU vitamin A (5%), 5 mg vitamin C (7%), 12 mcg folic acid (3%)
  • Minerals: 33 mg calcium (3%), 17 mg magnesium (5%), 181 mg potassium (4%)
  • Bonus: 12 grams of heart-healthy plant omega-3 fatty acids

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