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Comfort Food

Article Posted by Sherri Sacconaghi, October 22nd, 2013


I love the fall. It is my favorite time of year. And although I am already missing the sweetness of summer berries (frozen do not cut it!), I do love the warm comfort of winter squash.


Not only is squash delicious but like most of my favorite foods it is packed with amazing nutrients. It can help fight the winter colds and flu with Vitamin A and Vitamin C. It has anti-inflammatory effects due to its high antioxidant content and can be effective in warding off anti inflammatorily diseases such as asthma and arthritis.


There re so many varieties of winter squash but my top three favorites are:


  • Butternut squash: Shaped like a large pear, this squash has cream-colored skin, deep orange-colored flesh and a sweet flavor.

  • Acorn squash: With harvest green skin speckled with orange patches and pale yellow-orange flesh, this squash has a unique flavor that is a combination of sweet and nutty.

  • Spaghetti squash: oblong and yellow in hue... Its center contains many large seeds its flesh is bright yellow or orange. When cooked, the flesh falls away from the fruit in ribbons or strands like spaghetti.


When you find yourselves staring at the mounds of winter squash in the grocery store and wondering what to do with it all, just remember this. All varieties of winter squash require peeling for steaming except butternut squash. You can peel winter squash with a potato peeler or knife. If you are baking your squash you don't have to peel it. Cut the ends off, cut the squash in half lengthwise down the middle, scoop out the seeds and bake. (Rinse and roast the seeds like pumpkin seeds too). Or go the easy route and leave the squash whole, pierce a few times with a fork and bake and scoop out the seeds after it has been cooked. Or go the super easy route and buy the pre cut versions in the produce section of your health food store. ( I’m a lazy cook, if you have not noticed).

Winter Squash is the perfect side dish to any meat or seafood or as a stand-alone hearty vegetarian meal. Here are some simple preparations.

  • Top puréed cooked winter squash with cinnamon and maple syrup.

  • Steam cubes of winter squash and then dress with olive oil and ginger.

  • Top "strings" of spaghetti squash with pasta sauce or pesto.

  • Add cubes of winter squash to your favorite vegetable soup recipe, or even to a smoothie with some vanilla yogurt and pumpkin spice.


And of course with the holidays approaching, it is the perfect time to practice this delicious dish. It’s a healthy favorite at my holiday table.




Sherri Sacconaghi, AADP, NASM-CPT

Certified Health Coach



"Inspiring you Towards a Healthy Body and a Joyful Life".

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