Seasonal Eats: Chayote Squash

standard October 3, 2016 Leave a response

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Fall is the time of year when summer squash still abounds in gardens and supermarket shelves. Yet pumpkins and butternuts and all the glorious winter squash start to make an appearance as well. Mixed in there you also find chayote, spaghetti squash, and a few other oddball varieties.

Chayote is an interesting squash; most people have never heard of it, it looks almost like a pear, and it has very little flavor on its own, so you can season it to fit almost any cuisine. It can add texture and fiber to almost any dish, and you can swap it in for zucchini or summer squash in most recipes.

Nutrition:

One medium-sized squash contains 9 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 0 g fat, and almost 40 calories. With minimal sugar content and a moderate amount of fiber, chayote makes an excellent low-calorie addition to a recipe or meal.  These interesting vegetables are also an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, copper, manganese, and zinc. With almost 50% DV folate, chayote is a terrific food for pregnant women and new mothers.

Benefits:

Since this small, strange squash contains so many vitamins and minerals for so little calories and bulk, it is an easy way to add nutrition to your diet. The fiber aids in fullness and weight loss. Folate aids in heart health and stroke prevention, as well as fetal development. And there is some evidence that chayote can even help with bloating kidney stones, and acne control.

Recipes:

Swap chayote into one of your favorite squash recipes or give one of these a try this Fall:

 

Sources:
Chayote, fruit, raw. USDA Food and Nutrient Database. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2919?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=50&offset=&sort=default&order=asc&qlookup=chayote&ds=

 

Seasonal Eats: Blueberries

standard June 6, 2016 Leave a response

June officially means summer. And Summer officially means its BERRY SEASON! Growing up my favorite thing to eat in the summer was Cheerios and berries. The sweet, juicy bursts in every bite were heavenly on a hot, sunny day. And along with stone fruits and watermelon, berries are a summer staple. 
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Nutrition:

Berries are one of the lowest calorie, highest nutrient density fruits. A single cup of blueberries has 84 calories, 0 g fat, and 21 g carbohydrates, with 15 g being sugars and 4 g fiber. These little juicy fruits are also packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese at over 20% DV each, as well as low levels of potassium, copper, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, and magnesium.

Benefits:

Blueberries are known for their antioxidant power, and they have been studied to have the highest antioxidant capacity of any fruit. This makes them a terrific daily addition to any diet, providing  protection against free radicals in the environment, aging, and even some cancers.

Since blueberries are low in sugar and calories, especially compared to other fruits such as bananas or apples, they are a great choice for weight control and diabetes management. Their high fiber content also helps with digestion, so adding a handful to that morning bowl of cereal or smoothie is a great way to start the day.

Recipes:

Have a refreshing summer with one of these juicy recipes:

 

Sources:
USDA. Blueberries, raw. National nutrient database for standard reference. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2166?manu=&fgcd=
Prior RL, Cao G. Analysis of botanicals and dietary supplements for antioxidant capacity: a review. J AOAC Int. 2000; 83:950-956.

Seasonal Eats: Kohlrabi

standard May 9, 2016 Leave a response

Who’s seen a kohlrabi before? Who’s even heard of kohlrabi before? I definitely had not before I started getting a CSA box a few years ago. This funny looking vegetable is part of the Brassica family, along with collard greens and Brussels sprouts. It has a crisp, almost crunchy texture, and a light, refreshing flavor. Once the tough outer layer is peeled away, the white flesh can be used similarly to turnips, potatoes, or jicama. The leaves can also be prepared just like any other dark, leafy, green. Nothing wasted!

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Nutrition:

A cup of raw, diced kohlrabi contains 8 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugars, 2 grams of protein, 0 fat, and just 36 calories. And don’t let the white flesh be deceiving. Kohlrabi contains over 5% DV of vitamin B6, potassium, copper, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus. It packs almost 20% DV of fiber and 140% DV of vitamin C.

Benefits:

Kohlrabi is a great way to bulk up meals. The high nutrient density and fiber keep the digestive system regulated. Fibrous foods also aid in feeling full, which can benefit weight maintenance. The variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals protect against toxins and cancers. Enjoy kohlrabi either cooked or raw, though the chemopreventive qualities may be higher in the raw flesh.

Recipes:

If you see kohlrabi pop up at your local farmer’s market, give it a try in one of these fun recipes:

 

Sources:
USDA. Kohlrabi, raw. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2991?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=35&offset=&sort=&qlookup=kohlrabi