Spaghetti squash, apples, pumpkin, avocados.—it is officially fall and these delicious seasonal foods not only add delightful flavor to meals, they’re nutrient-packed powerhouses that fight disease and help keep your body healthy. Here’s how to make the most of them and why you shouldn’t let the season pass without putting them in your mouth!
The Swap: If you love pasta but could do without the refined carbs, insulin spike and bloat or you stay away from it because it makes you gain weight, say hello to spaghetti squash. It’s super-satisfying but a guilt-free version of pasta because you can enjoy even a large serving for a fraction of the calories of the real deal.
Why It’s Worth the Bite:
Contains quality, energy-revving carbohydrates that come packed with nutrients and fiber that helps regulate blood sugar (especially important if you are at risk for diabetes)
Saves 170 calories per cup compared to pasta (even whole-wheat pasta)
Acts as a tension tamer thanks to:
- magnesium (has a calming affect that relaxes the body)
- potassium (helps dilate your blood vessels, lowering your blood pressure and taking the edge off)
- Contains phenolic phytonutrients, which help to prevent damage to cells, reduce the risk of disease and hinder the aging process
- Contains health-promoting alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin—nutrient superstars responsible for everything from protecting against cancer to helping to prevent macular degeneration
Recipe to try: Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Sauce and Parmesan Cheese
You can even prepare this guilt-free “spaghetti” in the microwave as in the recipe above. Simply poke holes in the squash with a fork and microwave it, then use a fork to shred it into “spaghetti.” Top with tomato sauce and a teaspoon of grated Parmesan. If it’s mac and cheese you crave, simply mix the warm spaghetti squash with a slice of fat-free or low-fat cheddar.
The Swap: Apples can take the place of butter, oil, chips and rich desserts. If you want to cut the fat and calories, but not flavor when baking, use a 1-to-1 ratio of apple sauce instead of butter or oil. You’ll get only a quarter of the calories and virtually no fat. If the sacrifice in flavor is too much (it won’t be!), start by using half butter and half the swap. For rich desserts, swap heavy,
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