Not Just for Decor :: Why the Acorn Squash Is Great for Babies

roasted and seasoned slices of acorn squash in a white bowl on a countertopThat beautiful green acorn squash on your porch or tablescape looks incredible next to the rest of your fall decorations, but did you know it also has incredible health benefits for your baby? Be sure to cook and serve it after taking a few quick pics for the ‘gram.

Indigenous to North America, acorn squash has a long shelf life and is a terrific food to add to grains, lentils, and stews. It’s also fun to eat on its own — cooked acorn squash sliced into crescent moon pieces offers an ideal shape for babies to pick up and hold on their own. So whether you’re practicing baby-led weaning or are fully into the toddler years (or beyond!), give acorn squash a try this fall!

Nutrition

Acorn squash is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as most B vitamins — all of which help your baby’s developing body grow and thrive. It’s also high in magnesium, potassium, and calcium, an essential mineral for bone growth, blood balance, brain function, cell development, and so much more. Added bonus: Acorn squash has lots of fiber, which may help relieve your baby of constipation.

Recipe

Roasted Acorn Squash

Ingredients
· Acorn squash, outside skin scrubbed clean
· Avocado, coconut, or olive oil

Directions

1. To cut an acorn squash, place it upright on a cutting board so the stem is facing up. Place the tip of a knife on one side of the stem and cut vertically until the knife reaches the cutting board. Turn the squash on its side, insert the knife into the cut, and slide it through the rest of the squash, until it reaches the other side of the stem. Now pull apart the two sides.
2. Use a spoon to scrape out the squash’s inner seeds and strings. Compost them, or, if there’s time, save and use an oven to dehydrate the seeds — a great source of vitamin E.
3. Place one half squash with the cut side down on a cutting board, then cut crosswise
(perpendicular to the ridges) to create 1-inch slices. You’ll wind up with several crescent moon pieces.
4. Coat the slices in the oil of your choice, then roast in the oven at 375 degrees until soft — between 20 and 30 minutes.
5. After the squash is cooked, let it cool completely, then peel back and discard the dark green skin prior to serving.

Tracy was born and raised in Southern California. In 2009, she relocated to Massachusetts for a master’s program and, for the first time, learned the real meaning of “cold.” With plans to move back home after earning her degree, she foolishly accepted an invitation to dinner from a handsome stranger. He swept her off her feet, and she never made it back to California. Tracy and her husband live in Boston with their daughter, Sophia. Tracy has spent the last 10 years working in operations and business development. She’s an active member of her church community. Her work within the church is focused on local missions — food security, education, homelessness, family care services, and nutrition and health services (something Tracy is particularly passionate about). Recently, Tracy started a small business. The Little Cocoa Bean Company is a social enterprise focused on baby and toddler nutrition. When she’s not working or mom-ing, you can usually find Tracy in her garden. Loves: baby snuggles, plants, musicals, her husband’s laugh, Black art, island vacations, gospel music, big windows, and snow storms Dislikes: weeds, scary movies, chunks in ice cream, laundry, and Mondays