What's the Deal with Winter Squash?

by Kendal Schmitz, Viterbo University Senior Nutrition & Dietetics Student


The United States imports more squash than any other country in the world! On top of that, within the U.S., about 400 million pounds of squash are produced each year. Winter squash originated in Central and South America, and people have been consuming it for over 10,000 years. China and India are now the top producers of this vegetable.


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Fun Facts:

  • One cup of winter Squash contains only 80 calories.

  • The rich colors of winter squash come from its carotenoid content, which may help improve eyesight.

  • Squash seeds deliver great nutrients such as protein, zinc, magnesium, iron and phosphorus.

  • Winter squash is botanically classified as a fruit because it contains seeds.

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Cheddar Stuffed Acorn Squash

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  • 1 acorn squash, halved/ seeded

  • 3/4 cup chopped ripe tomato

  • 2 scallions or green onions—thinly sliced

  • 1/4 tsp dried sage

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 tbsp water

  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese—cut into cubes

Instructions: Serves 4

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

  • Place the squash halves in a roasting pan, cut side up

  • Add about an inch of water to the bottom of the pan

  • Combine tomatoes and scallions or onions

  • Season with sage, salt and pepper to taste

  • Mix well and divide the mixture evenly among the squash halves

  • Spoon 1 tablespoon of water over each and cover loosely with aluminum foil

  • Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until squash is tender when pierced by a fork

  • Divide cheese cubes evenly on top of squash halves, cook 5 more minutes and serve.

Taste the featured Harvest of the Month Recipe at Black River Memorial Hospital (Cafe) on Tues. Nov. 20 from 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
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Kendal Schmitz is a Senior Nutrition & Dietetics Student at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She is from Minnesota and is studying the connection between diet and cancer.

An Apple a Day

By Allison Stoeffler, Jackson In Action Contributor

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Humans have been consuming apples since 6500 B.C., and for over 1,500 years, apples have been utilized for their health benefits. 

  • During the 1860s, “eat an apple before bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread” started circulating. Fast forward to today, and everyone knows that “an apple a day will keep the doctor away.” However, this light-hearted saying does have some truth to it.

  • Apples are a nutrient-dense food that offers many health benefits.


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What’s In an Apple?

One medium apple provides 18% of the daily value for fiber and 14% of the daily value for Vitamin C based on a 2,000 calorie diet

One medium apple provides 18% of the daily value for fiber and 14% of the daily value for Vitamin C based on a 2,000 calorie diet

  • Phytochemicals

    Phytochemials are non-nutrient compounds found in plants. The consumption of the phytochemicals found in apples has been associated with inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in the pancreas, colon, breast, and liver. They can also boost the body’s immune functions, reduce the risk or effects of asthma, and clean your teeth!

  • Fiber

    Fiber is an indigestible form of carbohydrate that is abundant in apples, especially in their peels. Fiber is effective in approving gut health, which helps to prevent diarrhea or constipation and reduces the risk of developing colorectal cancer. In addition to that, the fiber found in apples helps to stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day by releasing glucose more slowly. Lastly, soluble fiber is associated with heart health because of its ability to lower LDL (“bad cholesterol”) and raise HDL (“good cholesterol”).

  • Antioxidants

    Apples are an antioxidant-rich food, which means they help to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Because of this, frequent consumption of apples has been associated with a reduced risk of developing inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis or gout. These antioxidants also relieve oxidative stress in the brain, helping to prevent neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Vitamin C, an important antioxidant found in apples, has consistently been shown to strengthen the immune system.

What’s Not In Them?

Apples can keep you full on minimal calories, which reduces the risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and other weight-related issues. They are also free of sodium and fat, so swapping a salty, high fat snack, like potato chips, for an apple can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Experiment with Different Ways to Eat Apples This Month!

Apple Bake Recipe

Ingredients:

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2 large apples, cut into small pieces

¼ cup apple juice

¼ cup water

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Dash of ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine juice, water and spices. Put apples in a loaf pan; pour liquid over apples. Bake at 350°F for 35 to 45 minutes or microwave on high for 6 to 8 minutes. If microwaving, stir every 3 minutes. Serves 2

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Harvest of the Month

Taste the featured recipe on Oct. 17 at Black River Memorial Hospital, More info here

Allison Stoeffler is from the “Apple Capitol” of Minnesota and a senior Nutrition & Dietetics Student at Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI

Allison Stoeffler is from the “Apple Capitol” of Minnesota and a senior Nutrition & Dietetics Student at Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI