Winter squashes are extremely versatile and super easy to “dress up” with flavor. The winter squashes include: butternut, acorn, spaghetti, kabocha and red kabocha, carnival , sugar pumpkin, sweet dumpling, and delicata squash. Winter squashes are high in:
- VITAMIN A
- Vit. A is a fat soluble nutrient that is essential for: immune function, vision, reproduction, and cellular communication. It also plays a vital role in the maintenance of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs
- VITAMIN C
- Vit. C is a water soluble nutrient that is needed for the biosynthesis of collagen, L-carnitine (an amino acid), and certain neurotransmitters. Vit. C is an antioxidant and also aides in protein synthesis.
- vitamin B6
- antioxidant & anti-inflammatory compounds
My favorite ways to prepare winter squash is to oven roast it, spiralize it into a pseudo-pasta, rice it, or make it risotto style! Risotto style butternut squash resembles a bit of a mac n’ cheese to me, but much healthier.
Butternut squashes have more Vitamin A than pumpkins! They also have natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds. A and ß-carotenes, cryptoxanthin-ß, and lutein synthesize into vitamin A inside the body. Vitamin A has powerful antioxidant and protective benefits. Butternut squashes also have a lot of B-complex vitamins. These include: folates, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid.
Butternut squashes are a good source of iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. A single squash usually provides you with multiple meals. Saving their seeds makes for an awesome healthy snack too. The seeds are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids. The seeds contain protein, minerals, and the essential amino acid tryptophan! Check out Enlighten Life’s recipe for Roasted Squash Seeds here!
Collagen is one of those secret little nutritional weapons. In fact, it is so awesome I’ve written an entire blog post about it here! If you’ve never tried adding it to your nutritional regimen I highly recommend it!
I added collagen to this recipe to add a little texture and a lot of nutritional value. Collagen in combination with Vitamin C greatly increases the conversion and absorption of protein.