Weight loss can be achieved either by eating fewer calories or by burning more calories with physical activity, preferably both. Exercise will help you burn more calories and dieting is critically important because you cannot lose weight if you consume more calories than you burn. Eating low calorie, nutritionally balanced foods will give your body the nutrients it needs every day while staying within your daily calorie goal for weight loss. Squash One great example of a low-calorie food is squash. Squash is a fleshy vegetable belonging to one of four species of the Cucurbita family of vegetables. Squashes are typically categorized as summer or winter squashes. Squash is a low-calorie low energy density food. This means it provides a lot of nutrients without containing a lot of calories. 1 cup, cooked, delivers just 80 calories. Squash also has a reputation for fiber. Eating squash is particularly satisfying, because the bulk fills you up, allowing you to forgo second helpings. The high fiber content also means squash has a very low glycemic load (a measure of how the carbohydrates in different foods affect any one person’s blood sugar). Foods with a low glycemic load produce fewer blood sugar spikes and fewer hunger pangs later on. Squash causes a very low insulin release since there’s not a lot of sugars in it, but a ton of fiber! This is unlike really sugary foods (cake, doughnuts, hot chocolate, etc.), which elevate your insulin and cause you to put on a lot of fat fast. The other amazing thing about squashes is that their hearty and comforting flavors help you lose weight! If you eat a diet that tastes horrible and that you hate, it’s not sustainable. You’ll never stick to it. Whether it’s tasty summer squash or sweet, flavorful winter squash, squash is a great help for your weight-loss plan. Winter Squash. Contrary to the name, winter squash is grown in the summer and harvested in the fall. Its thick, tough exterior and firm flesh make it suitable for storing over several months. This means it can be eaten during the winter season. Other than being low-calorie foods, winter squashes are inexpensive and are a rich source of plant-based anti-inflammatory beta-carotene, which can support healthy vision and cell development. Butternut squash Butternut squash is one of the most common varieties of winter squash. It’s a healthy vegetable for weight loss with its low calories and high levels of dietary fiber. There are around 6 grams of primarily insoluble fiber in a cup of butternut squash that’s especially beneficial for relieving digestive problems such as constipation. Fiber takes long to digest, thereby keeping you satisfied for longer in between meals. Since you need at least 25 grams daily, this vegetable makes an important contribution to your fiber quota. As far as calorie content is concerned, the are only around 75 calories in one cup of butternut squash, which makes them one of the ‘negative calorie’ foods considered so good for weight loss. Butternut squash is also loaded with vitamin A — 1 cup of cooked squash has 457% of the RDA (Recommended daily allowance) –, half the RDA for vitamin C and is a great source of calcium and magnesium. Butternut squash is also a great source of potassium, which important for normal kidney, heart, muscle and digestive function. And like most vegetables, it’s fat-, cholesterol-, and sodium-free. Spaghetti squash Spaghetti squash is yet another winter squash. It gets its name from the fact that when cooked, the inside flesh pulls off the shell in long strands, just like spaghetti pasta. Yellow and oval shaped, spaghetti squash is available year round in most grocery stores. Rich in fluids (about 92.3 percent water), fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, and pantothenic acid (a B vitamin), spaghetti squash is an ideal, low-calorie center that’s still filling. A huge plate of spaghetti squash has only 80 calories and is relatively low in carbohydrates. So if you swap spaghetti squash for other starchy foods like rice and pasta you’ll save calories and carbs. For instance, if you substitute it for pasta, you’ll save 140 calories and 23 grams of carb per cup – and get double the fiber and six times the potassium. It is also known for its manganese content which is great for your metabolism, strong bones, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. And thanks to its high fiber content it aids in digestion, keeping you fuller longer. The best part about Spaghetti squash is that can be baked, steamed, boiled, or even cooked in the microwave! Also, Spaghetti squash can be taken on its own with just a little salt and pepper. Click here to find recipes how to make spaghetti squash Pumpkin Pumpkin is the third type of winter squash. This vegetable diet makes for a great way to lose weight fast, tasty, quick and painless. It is very low in calories and has a sufficient amount of vitamins A, E, C, D, iron, zinc, calcium, folic and pantothenic acid. Pumpkin pulp contains vitamin T (carnitine), which significantly speeds up the metabolism, helps burn fat and develop muscle mass. Pumpkin seeds also offer great weight loss benefits because of their density. Though they may look small, they’re very dense, heavy foods, and they go a great way in filling you up thereby keeping you satiated. Another way pumpkin seeds aide in weight loss is they stabilize your blood sugar. Because they’re easy for your body to digest and have a low glycemic index, they help your blood sugar levels remain more balanced. Summer squash The “summer squash” is a soft-skinned squash. Tender, summer squash is harvested steadily from early to late summer. Summer squash is best eaten fresh, either raw, steamed, or sautéed. It will not keep more than a day or two in the refrigerator. Zucchini One popular summer squash is Zucchini. If you eat zucchini regularly you know that this vegetable helps keep your body healthy and helps you lose weight. Super low in calories, Zucchini makes the perfect light side dish for a heavy meal: One cup of sliced zucchini has about 19 calories. That’s 40 to 50% lower than the same serving size for other low-cal green veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts. And because it’s so versatile, you can enjoy this low-calorie food in so many different recipes, from baked fries to pesto roll-ups. Zucchini also keeps the body hydrated with its 95 percent water content. This gives you more energy and fewer headaches. Gem squash Gem squash is a cross between a small pumpkin and a zucchini. They are low in calories and are a great source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, antioxidants, iron and a source of dietary fiber, folate, potassium, and niacin. If you get a young gem squash, that has been harvested early in the season, the seeds can also be eaten and they are rich in zinc and omega 3 oils. About the Author Lita Watson: Hi there! I’m Lita, voice of QuickEasyCook.com and I’m absolutely in love with cooking blogs. I’m a beginner in cooking and i try my best to make it quick and easy. Even though, it’s not always quick and easy to keep up with fancy dinners… so i keep learning and blogging about quick and easy ways to create delicious and yummy foods for my two kids and a wonderful husband. Start a Conversation Cancel a Conversation Connect with Enter your WordPress.com blog URL http://.wordpress.com Proceed Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.