Since a journey on the keto diet demands keto-friendly meals, you have to do all you can to become a mini expert at preparing keto-friendly meals, that would also serve the needs of your non-keto friends whenever they come visiting. There are several recipes out there that you can adopt and adapt in wowing those around you. One ingredient of those recipes is Spaghetti Squash.
Spaghetti squash is also known as vegetable spaghetti is a group of cultivars of Cucurbita pepo. They are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors which include ivory, yellow, and orange.
Its center contains many seeds. When raw, the flesh is solid and similar to other raw squash. When cooked, the meat of the fruit will fall away from the flesh in strands that look like spaghetti. Spaghetti squash is a vibrant winter vegetable enjoyed for its nutty flavor and impressive nutrient profile and it is often used as a healthier alternative to Spaghetti.
Is Spaghetti Squash Keto Friendly?
Is Spaghetti Squash Keto Friendly? – To answer the question of spaghetti squash being keto-friendly, the low calories and carbs that are found in spaghetti squash have made it one of the best alternatives to non-keto food items we have.
As ketogenic is a diet plan that essentially uses fat for energy while discouraging the intake of high carbs meals, this defines spaghetti squash as one of the best go-to meals on keto.
While Spaghetti Squash is also known as Winter Squash, it is just a variety of Winter Squash, other varieties including Butternut Squash, Acorn Squash, Yellow Squash, and the likes are higher in carbs and calories.
Nutrients Found in Spaghetti Squash
A cup of cooked Spaghetti Squash contains the following nutrients:
- Calories: 42
- Carbs: 10 grams
- Fiber: 2.2 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 0.5 grams
- Vitamin C: 9 percent of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Manganese: 8 percent of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 8 percent of the RDI
- Pantothenic acid: 6 percent of the RDI
- Niacin: 6 percent of the RDI
- Potassium: 5 percent of the RDI and
- It also contains a negligible amount of thiamine, magnesium, folate, calcium, and iron.
Packed With multiple Vitamins and Minerals, Spaghetti squash is a nutrient-based food, meaning it is low in calories but high in several key vitamins and minerals.
In specificity, spaghetti squash is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin B6.
Health Benefits of Spaghetti Squash
Antioxidants: Spaghetti Squash is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants have been scientifically proven to contain powerful compounds that can help fight free radicals, thus preventing oxidative stress and reducing damage to your cells. Research shows that antioxidants will aid in preventing chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Beta-carotene: Winter squash in particular provides plenty of beta-carotene, which is a potent plant pigment that helps protect your cells and DNA from damage.
Vitamin C: Spaghetti squash is also high in vitamin C, which doubles as an antioxidant and has been shown to take a significant role in disease prevention.
May Help Promote Digestive Health: Spaghetti squash is an excellent source of fiber. As noted above, a cup of it serves packs a whopping 2.2 grams, which literally translates to become 9 percent of your daily fiber needs. Fiber moves slowly through the digestive system, and it adds bulk to your stool, which helps in promoting regularity and stops constipation.
Making a fiber-rich meal a regular on your diet plan will go a long way in improving your digestive health. It will also help in treating or preventing diseases like diverticulitis, intestinal ulcers, hemorrhoids, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Supports Weight Loss: Spaghetti squash is low in calories but high in fiber, which makes it a healthy option for a well-rounded weight loss diet. Fiber also supports weight loss by slowing the rate at which your stomach is empty and stabilizes your blood sugar levels to reduce appetite and hunger. In addition to this, Spaghetti Squash contains only 42 calories.
This is a low-calorie alternative to items like lasagna, casseroles, gratin, or pasta and helps in weight loss. If you are to compare spaghetti Squash to actual spaghetti, one cup of cooked squash contains only 28 percentage of the total calories found in a cup of cooked spaghetti. Its being high in fiber and low in calories has made it a perfect choice of meal to add to your weight loss diet.
Steps to Preparing Spaghetti Squash
It is quite easy to prepare your keto-friendly spaghetti squash, all the ingredients you need are:
- Winter squash
- Olive oil
- Keto-friendly seasonings of your choice
- The first step is for you to cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds in it with a spoon.
- Then you drizzle each half with a bit of olive oil, season them with salt (according to your preference), and place side-by-side on a baking sheet with the cut side facing down.
- You then roast the squash in your oven at 400°F (200°C) for between 40–50 minutes or until fork-tender (you will constantly check it).
- Once your squash is fully roasted, you will then use a fork to scrape out the spaghetti-like strands into your desired plate and finish it with the keto-friendly seasonings of your choice. It could also be sauces or toppings. Just make sure it is keto friendly.
What can I eat Spaghetti Squash with?
Spaghetti squash as a winter vegetable has a mild flavor and stringy texture that works well in many recipes. It can be said to be deliciously versatile.
You can decide to bake, boil, steam, microwave or roast it for your delicious treat that is filled with nutrients. Considering that spaghetti squash is an alternative for pasta due to its low calorie and minimum carbs, you can mix it up with any other recipe you will use with pasta on a good day.
It can be teamed with food items like meatballs, marinara sauce, garlic or parmesan. You can also use spaghetti squash to substitute noodles in your keto diet meal plan.
Some of the recipes you can use spaghetti squash as a substitute are:
- Sausage and Peppers Spaghetti Squash Boats
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Spaghetti Squash
- Creamy Spinach and Spaghetti Squash Bake
- Spaghetti Squash and Sausage Breakfast Casserole
- Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Skillet
- Chicken Fajita Spaghetti Squash Bowls
- Healthy Spaghetti Squash “Ramen”
- Greek Spaghetti Squash Bowls
- Garlic Spaghetti Squash with Herbs
- Spaghetti Squash Fritters
- Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin with Caramelized Onions
- Spaghetti Squash Garlic Noodles
- Spaghetti Squash Pizza Crust
Effects of Spaghetti Squash
Allergies: Although Spaghetti Squash is highly nutritious and does wonder for the body, you must keep in mind that your body might react to it negatively before trying it out or decide to make it a huge part of your diet meal plan. It has been known to cause serious cases of allergies such as hives, itching, swelling, digestive disorders, and the likes. Go through a trial with it first to ensure that you are not allergic to it. If you experience any allergic reaction to this vegetable, it is advised that you stop eating it and get in touch with your doctor immediately.
Low Calories: you shouldn’t make this winter squash a major item in your ketogenic diet meal plan. Although the lowest in calories goes a long way in assisting you shed the necessary pounds, it is of utmost importance that you avoid cutting off too many calories from your meals as this severe calorie restriction can decrease your body’s metabolic rate.
In summary, to maximize the benefit while minimizing its negative effects, select healthy toppings and pair them with other nutritious foods like veggies, herbs, spices, heart-healthy fats, and lean proteins.
Spaghetti squash is a winter vegetable that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Due to its low calorie and high fiber content, it also aids weight loss and digestive health. While it may be allergic to some people, it has great benefits for the body when eaten in moderation. It is a great substitute for pasta and noodles and can be combined with any recipe that requires pasta or noodles as its main ingredient. Remember to always take it with adequate fatty and keto-friendly toppings of your choice.