Winter Squash Profile
Winter Squash for Baby
Winter squash comes in many delicious varieties and is a perfect first food for baby. Delicata, acorn, hubbard, kobocha and butternut are all a part of the winter squash family, and are all high in carotenoids, a special class of antioxidant that may help prevent cancer and inflammation. Winter squash may also help regulate blood sugar, reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and help improve mood due to a high content of mood-boosting Omega-3 fatty acids! Winter squash have a rich, sweet flavor that baby and kiddo will enjoy year round.
Highlighted Nutritional Importance of Winter Squash
Vitamin A – crucial for the immune system and healthy skin and eyes
Vitamin C – this potent antioxidant helps to heal small cuts and wounds and helps keep gums and teeth healthy
Vitamin B6 – this vitamin regulates the body’s natural sleep cycles and support normal brain development
Vitamin B2 – this energy-producing vitamin, also known as Riboflavin, prmotoes growth, food vision and healthy skin
Vitamin K – vital for healthy bones and the blood clotting process
Manganese – another potent antioxidant (squash is filled with them!) that helps to form baby’s bone and cartilage
Copper – this trace mineral is only needed in small amounts, but is essential for forming red blood cells and helps support a healthy cardiovascular system
Potassium – this electrolyte mineral supports healthy cardiovascular and kidney function
Magnesium – necessary for healthy bones and the skeletal system and helps regulate energy production inside the cell
How to Select and Store Winter Squash for Baby
According to the EWG, none of the winter squash are listed on the Dirty Dozen list, meaning they are not heavily contaminated with pesticides. Buying organic is a personal choice, but it’s important to note that winter squash are effective at pulling contaminants up from soil, so buying organic is worth considering.
When purchasing winter squash, it’s important to look for those that are heavy for their size and have dull, hard rinds, not glossy or soft. A soft rind indicates a watery squash that may be lacking in flavor, so it’s best to avoid them. Unlike summer squash, winter squash has a much longer storage life and can be kept between one week to six months if removed from light and exposure to extreme cold or heat.
To prepare winter squash for baby or kiddo, make sure to rinse it well under cool water, then decide how to prepare it. Steaming requires the squash to be peeled, but also takes the shortest amount of time (about 7 minutes). Roasting takes longer, but you don’t need to peel the squash if you choose this method. Of course, if you are feeding the squash to baby, peeling is an important step to take before meal time. Squash can be served as soft cooked cubes, as a sweet puree on its own, or stirred into sweet or savory purees for an extra boost of healthy carotenoids.
Recipes Using Winter Squash –