Runners Should Use This Food to Make Healthy Winter Meals

Underneath their tough exterior, squashes are loaded with key nutrients every runner needs.

healthy winter meals

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Butternut, acorn, spaghetti, Hubbard, banana, turban, and pumpkin are just some of the many types of squash available in your produce section this time of year. And if you’re looking to amp up your diet to fuel your runs, you can’t go wrong with adding squash into your ingredient list when searching for new healthy winter meals.

With their hard outer shell, these squashes may look more like doorstops than good eats. But in our opinion they are some of the most perfect gems in the produce aisle when it comes to producing healthy winter meals.

While the exact nutritional stats vary from squash to squash, they’re all nutrient-packed and (once you know how) easy to cook for some of the healthiest winter dishes.

Nutritional benefits:

Cancer-fighting carotenoids: One cup of cooked squash contains about 100 calories with more than 100 percent of your daily value for vitamin A in the form of carotene, as well as other cancer-fighting carotenoids.

Runner-friendly electrolytes: Squash contains more potassium per serving than one banana. This mineral helps maintain healthy blood pressure and fluid balance.

Filling fibre: You’ll also get 6 grams of fibre in a single cup of cooked squash. All that fibre helps keep you feeling fuller longer.

Essential winter nutrients: With a good dose of vitamin C and a range of energising B vitamins, these veggies are a must for healthy winter meals.

How to prep:

Thanks to their thick skin, squashes will keep for several weeks in a cool, dry place. When ready to use them in your healthy winter meals:

Cut in half: Prep them for eating by carefully splitting the squash lengthwise with a sharp butcher-style knife, then scoop out the seeds.

Season well: Sprinkle the flesh with salt and pepper and place cut-side down on a foil-lined sheet.

Cook: Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes. You can also cut the squash into quarters and place in a covered microwave-safe dish. Microwave on high for four to eight minutes. When cooked, use a spoon to scoop out the soft insides. If you’re cooking spaghetti squash, use a fork to pull out the long strands.

Add finishing touches: Fresh or dried thyme, sage, or parsley pair well with winter squashes and add extra antioxidant power. Add a sprinkle and serve.

Try this recipe: Stuffed Acorn Squash

This is a great starter winter meal you can try.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 small acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 450g ground beef (or ground meat of your choice—I’ve also used bison)
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onion
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon rubbed sage, chopped
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • salt to taste

How to make it:

  • Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Place squash (orange side down) in a large baking dish. Add water and cover with foil. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the flesh is soft.
  • Meanwhile, cook meat and onion over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink, then drain. Stir in flour and sage until blended, and salt to taste. Add milk. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for two minutes or until thick.
  • Transfer squash to a baking sheet, orange side up, and fill cavities with meat. Bake at 180 degrees celsius for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with cheese, then bake until melted. Serves 4-6.

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