Food gives us the energy we need for our bodies to function, to enable us to think, and be active. Food energy comes from carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
The carbohydrates in food are made into glucose, which is absorbed into our blood stream. If a person has diabetes, the glucose in the blood stream becomes high; long term high blood glucose causes lots of problems (blood vessels, heart, ears, kidneys, eyes, feet…). Controlling blood glucose with medications, by eating enough but not too many carbohydrates, and by being active is very important.
Eating carbohydrates that are high in fiber seem to make it much easier to manage blood glucose than eating refined carbohydrates (e.g. white flour, white rice) and sugar. Winter squashes are excellent, tasty ways to get high fiber carbohydrates.
Winter squashes are hard shelled squashes that are typically harvested in the fall and have a long shelf life. These include butternut, acorn, spaghetti squashes and pumpkin.
Check out the picture above for more varieties. An easy way to prepare squash is to poke holes in the squash, bake in the microwave for 5 to 10 minutes to make it easy to cut in half. When it is cool enough to handle, cut in half and scrape out the seeds. Brush the insides of the squash with olive oil and spices and bake at 375 to 400 degrees F until the squash is soft (this can take from 20 to 60 minutes depending on the size of your squash.
You can buy fresh or frozen pre-cut winter squashes for quick use in recipes. ‘Google’ winter squash recipes on the internet and you will find lots of ideas. Winter squash recipes.
See below for nutritional information.
Butternut squash: 1 cup baked, 82 calories, 22 gm carbohydrate and 2.1 gm fiber
Acorn squash: 1 cup baked, 115 calories, 30 gm carbohydrate and 9 gm fiber
Pumpkin: 1 cup canned, 83 calories, 20 gm carbohydrate, 7.1 gm fiber
Birdseye frozen cooked winter squash: 1 cup 76 calories, 18.5 gm carbohydrate, 3.4 gm fiber
Spaghetti squash cooked: 42 calories, 10 gm carbohydrate, 2.2 gm fiber
Compare the calories and carbohydrates in squash to that in rice or pasta (1 cup cooked: 200-220 calories and 41-45 gm carbohydrate).