Today is the first day of spring, the vernal equinox. Vernal translates as vigorous and fresh. Fiberlady places high value on a high fiber diet that will undoubtedly make you feel renewed and refreshed. Put some spring in your step. There are countless ways to season your life and stir your health. Start by eating more high fiber foods like squash…winter or summer.
There is an amazing variety of squash in a broad range of textures and tastes. Summer squash and winter squash are both fruits of the gourd family. Summer squash is available all winter, but of the best quality between May and July; winter squash appears in the produce departments in the late summer, fall and winter.
Related to the melon and the cucumber, summer squash comes in many different shapes, colors and sizes. It can be served raw with dips or cooked in any possible manner. Some common types are zucchini, crookneck and pattypan. The whole vegetable can be eaten including the flowers in some varieties. Its mild flavor and tender texture makes it very versatile to use in main dishes or pasta. But unlike winter squash, summer squash are more fragile and can only be stored for short periods of time.
Winter squash is different from summer because it is eaten when it is mature. The shell hardens into a tough rind and can be bumpy or smooth, thick or thin. Acorn, butternut, Hubbard and spaghetti are some of the most popular winter squash. It can be cut in halves or pieces. Take out the fibers and seeds before cooking. Bake, steam or boil the squash with the least amount of water so as to retain nutrients and flavor.
Summer or winter, squash are an excellent source of fiber. Fiberlady will remind you how fiber absorbs water and adds bulk which creates an efficient system for quickly cleaning the body of waste. This helps to speed cancer-causing toxins out of the digestive system. The fiber-rich content of squash may be helpful for reducing the discomfort of irritable bowel syndrome due to constipation or diarrhea. High fiber foods tone up your intestines which helps prevent diverticulitis.
There are as many health benefits to eating high fiber foods as there are varieties of squash. So don’t squash your cravings, indulge in the delicious and nutritious flavor that squash has to offer. Fiberlady would like to offer you these easy fiber-rich recipes. And remember, no matter what the season, go for the high fiber reason.
Steamed Squash Medley with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
6 dehydrated sun-dried tomatoes
2 cups boiling water
6 small zucchini, sliced
6 small yellow squash, sliced
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste
1. Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl with the boiling water, and allow to sit 10 minutes. Remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon, and coarsely chop. Reserve the water.
2. Transfer the reserved sun-dried tomato water to a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Place the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini, squash, and onion in a steamer basket, and set over the boiling water. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Discard water.
3. Transfer the steamed vegetables to a bowl, and mix with butter, sugar, pepper, and salt to serve.
Per Serving: Calories: 100; Total Fat: 4.5grams
Fiber: 5.5 grams
Roasted Acorn Squash
2 medium acorn squash
3 tablespoons butter
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut acorn squash in half. Roast them cut side up on a baking sheet for 50 minutes or until the flesh is just tender. Let the squash cool for 20 minutes.
3. In a large skillet over medium heat melt the butter; saute the onions. Stirring occasionally, cook the onions for 10 minutes, or until they begin to brown at the edges. Mix in the garlic, coriander, and nutmeg. Cook the mixture 2 minutes more; then remove the pan from the heat.
4. Spoon the seeds and stringy middle out of the squash, and discard these. Spoon out the flesh, chop it and add it to the onion mixture. Discard the skins. Heat and stir the squash-onion mixture, then season it with salt and pepper. Serve the squash hot.
Per Serving: Calories: 191; Total Fat: 9.2 grams
Fiber: 4.6 grams
Stephanie Shank aka Fiberlady has studied nutrition for many healthy years which prompted her commitment to a high fiber lifestyle and the development of her informative website High Fiber Health.