The time period ranging from Halloween to New Year’s Day is abundant in occasions to stuff ourselves with delicious food. On average, we gain between 4 to 9 pounds during that season and unfortunately, a lot of Americans take that to be a natural occurrence and don’t even try to fight it. But you don’t need to put on weight after big holidays.

It’s all about what kind of food you put on the table and portion control. The recipe I want to share with you below is perfect as a side dish for Thanksgiving. The main ingredient is butternut squash, a true king of fall vegetables. This dish is full of vibrant colors and rich flavors that will fill you right up without needless calories coming from sugar or fat.

Nutrients in this recipe

Butternut squash is full of vitamins. 1 serving contains 4 times the daily recommended intake of vitamin A and half of the vitamin C intake. It’s also full of vitamin E, vitamin B, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron. It’s truly a nutritional powerhouse, full of antioxidants and minerals.

Half a cup of brussels sprouts provides more vitamin K than the daily recommended intake. They also contain a lot of vitamin C that’s vital for the proper function of immune system. High in fiber, they hardly contain any calories. Brussels sprouts even contain some omega 3 fatty acid. They are high in antioxidants such as kaempferol. Kaempferol has been linked to reduced cancer cell growth and inflammation relief.

Maple syrup is a very good source of natural sugar as long as you use it in moderation. 100% pure organic maple syrup contains various minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. It even has over 26 of different antioxidant compounds*

Cranberries are low in sugar which is rather rare among fruit. They are quite sour and not many people eat them raw. Instead, we often turn them into cranberry juice or cranberry sauce by adding a ton of refined sugar. But there are better ways to enjoy cranberries. They are rich in fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and other minerals. They also contain plenty of different phytochemicals and latest research even shows that cranberries have anti-inflammation properties and protect against cardiovascular diseases**. They are even considered to be effective against tumors***.

Canola oil is the oil I use most often when cooking due to its high omega 3 fatty acids content (higher than olive oil). I need to be careful about getting enough omega 3 in my diet because I rarely eat animal products and omega 3 fatty acids are mainly found in fish. Choose organic canola oil so that you can avoid any genetically modified ingredients.

* J Agric Food Chem 2011 Jul 27;59(14):7708-16. Further investigation into maple syrup yields 3 new lignans, a new phenylpropanoid, and 26 other phytochemicals. Li L, Seeram NP.

**Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2009 Oct; 49(9):741-81. Phytochemicals of cranberries and cranberry products: characterization, potential health effects, and processing stability. Pappas E, Schaich KM.

***Am Society for Nutr 2007. Cranberry and Its Phytochemicals: A review of In Vitro Anticancer Studies. Neto CC.

Nutritional Information:

Servings: 10
Calories: 95

Carbohydrate: 19 g

Sugar: 6 g

Protein: 3.5 g
Total Fat: 1.5 g
Saturated Fat: less than 0.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: less than 1 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Fiber: 5 g
Sodium: 200 mg 14%
Potassium: 550 mg 11 %

Vitamin A: 80 % Thiamin: 13 % Riboflavin: 10 %
Niacin: 10 % Pant Acid: 16 % Vitamin B6: 25 %
Vitamin C: 75 % Vitamin E: 13%
Calcium: 7 % Iron: 8 % Zinc: 6%
Magnesium: 14 % Copper: 40 % Selenium: 3 %
Manganese: 50 % Phosphorus: 10 % Omega 3: 12% (0.2 g)

The percentage sign refers to the daily recommended value. This value may be higher for you if you are an athlete or have a particular nutritional deficiency.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brussels Sprouts and Cranberries

Necessary equipment:

  • an ice cream spoon to scoop out the seeds
  • a large mixing bowl
  • a large baking dish

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 large butternut squash (about 5 cups when cubed)
  • 30 brussels sprouts
  • 1 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries
  • 2 T. of organic maple syrup
  • 1 T. of canola oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp from the middle. Peel the skin off of one half.
  3. Dice the squash into small cubes, less than 1 inch in length.
  4. Rinse and dry the brussels sprouts. Cut them in half or even quarters if they are on the large side.
  5. Combine the cubed butternut squash, halved brussels sprouts, and cranberries in a large mixing bowl.
  6. Add the maple syrup and canola oil. Toss the vegetables so that they are all well coated.
  7. Transfer the vegetables to a baking dish.
  8. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring lightly every 10 minutes.
  9. The vegetables are ready when the butternut squash is soft.
  10. Serve while still hot.