Super Food: Spaghetti Squash

If you want to restrict your caloric intake in an attempt to lower your body fat, eating spaghetti squash will help fill up your plate without adding much in the way of calories. Each cup of the cooked squash contains only 42 calories, which is only two percent of the daily calorie intake on a 1,500-calorie diet, or one and a half percent of a 2,000-calorie diet. Due to the squash’s low calorie content, substituting spaghetti squash in place of spaghetti pasta dramatically reduces the calorie content of your meal.  Substituting a cup of squash in place of the same portion of pasta saves you 179 calories. If you normally eat spaghetti once a week, the calorie difference in switching to spaghetti squash translates to two and a half pounds of weight loss over the course of a year, if nothing else changed.

Spaghetti squash serves as a source of beneficial carbohydrates. Each cup of cooked squash contains approximately 10 grams of total carbohydrates, including two grams of fiber, for only eight net carbs. Consuming fiber-containing foods like spaghetti squash offers a number of health benefits because the fiber forms a gel in your digestive tract that helps remove cholesterol from your body for one, and it helps your body regulate blood sugar, as well as helps you feel full for longer after your meal. The eight grams of sugars and starch found in  one cup of spaghetti squash also benefit your health, providing a nutrient dense source of energy for your cells.

Consuming spaghetti squash also boosts your intake of essential vitamins and minerals. One cup of squash contains 170 international units of vitamin A, which is almost six percent of the recommended daily intake for men, and seven percent of the recommended intake for women. The spaghetti squash also contains several B-vitamins, as well as vitamins C, E and K. In addition, spaghetti squash provides a source of the essential minerals calcium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium.

When cooking spaghetti squash, you can avoid adding calories to your food by selecting cooking methods that do not require large amounts of added fats or oils. Try baking or broiling the halved squash until it feels tender, then scraping the cooked insides with a fork to break the squash into strands. If you have time constraints, pierce the squash’s skin with a fork and cook it in the microwave. In addition to using spaghetti squash as a spaghetti substitute, try adding it to other dishes to boost your nutrient intake. Spaghetti squash makes for a delicious and nutritious ingredient in quiches or frittatas, or try blending the cooked squash into soups or savory sauces to add texture and flavor.

Happy Lifting!

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