For many people, eating healthy can prove to be challenging. This is especially true for pasta lovers, who may be in search of more health-conscious substitutions for their favorite dishes. To this end, spaghetti squash can be an ideal alternative when used in traditional pasta preparations. The following information will help virtually everyone incorporate this delicious item into meals.
Squash Is Both Nutritious and Delicious
When it comes to nutritional value, squash has much to offer anyone looking to boost healthy eating habits. This versatile vegetable is low in calories and fat while also being extremely filling, making it a perfect choice for those worried about managing their weight on a daily basis.
According to the USDA, one cup of squash has just 42 calories and only .5 grams of fat. Additionally, 92% of the vegetable’s weight is made up of water, which helps it remain a low-calorie item. The high water content also makes this variety of squash a good option to stave off hunger without incurring huge calorie gains.
Selecting and Storing Squash
When it comes to selecting the perfect squash, buyers should look for firm skin that is both dry to the touch and free of blemishes. A good squash will also have a bit of heft to it, which can be determined by picking up the vegetable.
As far as storage options, store spaghetti squash in a cool dry place to receive optimum results. Typically squash has a shelf life of up to three months when using this method. If kept in the refrigerator, it should be used within two weeks of purchase at the latest.
How to Use Squash as a Pasta Substitute
Substituting squash in pasta dishes is also incredibly easy. Unlike actual pasta, squash can be difficult to overcook, meaning it’s a great selection for kitchen novices. Cooking preparation is also quite simple, which can be essential for those with hectic lifestyles that often leave little time for cooking nutritious meals.
Once your squash is sliced and seeds are removed, it can be placed in a baking dish holding approximately a half-inch of water. Squash should be cooked at a temperature of 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Leave it to rest for around 15 minutes before using a fork to remove the flesh. From there you can prepare your dish in the same way you would any other pasta preparations – add sauce as desired, mix in additional veggies, or even top with meatballs for a truly decadent experience.
A Healthy Lifestyle Starts Here
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be a chore. The above illustrates that there are numerous options available to those who want to improve their eating habits without sacrificing flavor. Squash is just one of many tasty substitutions health-minded diners can make to improve their diet dramatically.