#SquashGoals

Canadians are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. As an RD I am well aware of this. Among the barriers that people often experience in getting their 7-8, individual taste preference, cooking habits, income, and availability tend to be the most common. For all of those barriers I have one, very easy, cure-all. Yes that's right, for once, a fast nutrition fix!

Here it is....it isn't a new or ground breaking idea, but sometimes I think we all need a little reminder. EAT IN SEASON!

For the most part in Canada, we can get fruits and vegetables all year around. Strawberries in the dead of winter, spinach after the first snow fall, and broccoli and bananas without any seasonal bounds at all. However, these rogue fruits and veggies have often been shipped from half way around the world to grace our produce sections (unless grown in a local greenhouse, but this tends to be less common). This flight around the world is costly both in dollars and taste. These foods are more expensive than when they are truly in-season and they often don't taste as good. I don't care what you tell me- a January strawberry may as well be an entirely different food than his June counterpart with absolutely no taste whatsoever!! 

Buy seasonally: Save your money and treat your taste buds! 

Check for Foodland Ontario's helpful availability guide to check out when your favourite fruits and veggies are in season here!  

Spoiler Alert: SQUASH IS IN SEASON NOW! Read more to get your #squashgoals on! 

Why Squash? 

With its bright orange colour, squash is full of fibre, beta and alpha carotenes (antioxidants that have been thought to help prevent heart disease and some cancers), potassium, folate and vitamin C making it a nutritional powerhouse.

But what about the starchiness of squash you ask?! Do not fear- while squash does contain more carbs than say leafy green vegetables, it really isn't that much more, and when you throw in the antioxidant goodness of squash, you will be laughing! A half cup of butternut squash contains 11g of carbs and 41 calories, while the same amount of broccoli contains 5.6g of carbs and 27 calories- the extra 5.5g of carbs that the squash contains isn't really that much in the whole scheme of things- the equivalent of 1/8 cup of cooked white pasta (1 cup of cooked pasta has 44g of carbs).  So go ahead and meet your #squashgoals!! 

How to Squash...

Look for squash that are dry and uniformly hard (i.e. have no bruises or soft spots on the surface). Squash can be stored for several weeks in cool, dry location with good air circulation.

 I always find that squash is super hard to cut into. My best trick is to put the squash in its side and cut off each end to help it sit flat first. Depending on how I am using the squash, if I need to remove the skin, I then use a sharp vegetable peeler or knife to remove the skin before cutting it in half and removing the seeds. 

Ready to Squash!  

By now I hope are are convinced of squash, so here are my favourite ways to reach my #squashgoals: 

Roasted Squash and Root Vegetables 

@domesticphd: Doesn't get more autumn! 🍂🍁🎃Roasted veggies are an easy and delicious way to enjoy squash! -Kath  #dietitian #easymeals#roastedveggies #domesticphd #fall

@domesticphd: Doesn't get more autumn! 🍂🍁🎃Roasted veggies are an easy and delicious way to enjoy squash! -Kath  #dietitian #easymeals#roastedveggies #domesticphd #fall

This is one of my favourite side dishes because it is incredible easy, tastes incredible and adds beautiful colour to the meal. 

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed  
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed (leave skin on for added nutrients and fibre!) 
  • 1 potato (again, skins on) 
  • 2 red beets (peel and cube) 
  • 1 leek
  • 2 carrots, chopped 
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower 
  • 1 red onion, chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • dash of salt and pepper 
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. Mix vegetables together in a bowl with garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. 
  3. Season to your preference. I really like rosemary but you can experiment here! 
  4. Spread evening on a parchment or foiled covered baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until vegetables are easily pierced with a fork. 

Stuffed Acorn Squash 

Guelph Family Health Study- Family Friendly Recipes 

Guelph Family Health Study- Family Friendly Recipes 

This recipe comes from a cookbook that I was very proud to work on- a cookbook created for the families in the Guelph Family Health Study to help them eat more fruits and vegetables. Visit the study website to learn more!  A friend and fellow RD working on the study created this recipe- @eatright_RD. I had the pleasure of acting as official taste-tester and photographer for the project. 

This recipe is sure to please even the most squash-shy. Enjoy! 

  • 2 medium acorn squash, halved length-wise, seeds removed 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper 
  • 4 tsp olive oil, divided 
  • 8 oz hot or mild Italian sausage, casings removed 
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, halved and sliced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
  • 4 cups kale, torn into small pieces 
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth 
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts 
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese 
  • 2 tbs whole wheat breadcrumbs 
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). 
  2. Rub the squash halves with 1 tsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash flesh side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake until golden and tender, 30 minutes. Remove from oven; flip squash and set aside. 
  3. Heat broiler. In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tsp oil over medium heat. Add sausage; cook, breaking into coarse pieces, until brown. Transfer to a bowl. To the same pan, add remaining 2 tsp oil and leek; cook until leek is soft, 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, 30 seconds. Add kale and toss; add broth. Cover and cook until kale is tender, 5 minutes; stir in sausage and cook 1 minute. 
  4. Divide kale-sausage filling among squash. In a bowl, combine walnuts, Parmesan and breadcrumbs; sprinkle evenly over squash bowls. Broil until breadcrumbs are golden, 2 minutes. 

Enjoy getting your #squashgoals on and tag us in your posts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to let us know how you are eating seasonally this fall! 

xo Kath