Squash is loaded with nutritional benefits and is very filling. Squash can be a beneficial veggie for pregnant women and is delicious in soups, curries and more – but what other kinds of benefits does it have for you when you’re pregnant?
Squash is a healthy and nutritionally beneficial vegetable during Pregnancy. It’s an excellent source of vitamin A and Vitamin C, and is also low-calorie. This makes squash a great way to add more important vitamins to your diet while you’re expecting.
I’ll walk you through the different kinds of squash, some pregnancy concerns it can pose and how to enjoy squash in your favorite meals to get the most from it.
Is Squash Always Safe During Pregnancy?
Squash is perfectly safe to enjoy while pregnant – but you should wash it after cutting it. This is because bacteria on the skin of the squash can be transferred to the inside when you cut it, so give the squash a rinse in running water after you’ve prepped it. For more on this, see our guide to prepping veg when you’re pregnant.
It’s also worth mentioning that cooking squash will kill bacteria, making squash safe to eat when it’s cooked, even if you didn’t wash it first. If you’re going to eat squash raw (a strange craving, but not unheard of!) then make sure you wash it thoroughly.
Pregnancy Benefits of Squash: Is It Good?
There are many different kinds of squash, each with their own nutritional breakdowns.
Butternut squash is arguably the most popular kind of squash. 100 grams of butternut squash contains 223% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A. A serving of this size contains 40 calories, 25% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C and 13% of your daily fiber requirements (source: nutritionix).
Acorn squash is considerably lower in vitamin A. 100 grams of acorn squash contains 56 calories, 8.6% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A, 18% of your vitamin C needs. Acorn squash is also a great source of potassium with 12% of the daily recommended amount.
Acorn squash also has 3.4% of your calcium needs and 5.2% of your daily iron requirements. It also contains 4.4 grams of fiber which is 18% of what you should be eating in a day (source: nutritionix).
Chayote squash contains no vitamin A. 100 grams of chayote squash is only 24 calories. A serving of this size will also provide you with 2.8 grams of fibre which is 11% of your daily needs – and fiber is super important during pregnancy, especially as constipation is a frequent pregnancy-related ailment. For more on this, see our high-fiber foods for pregnancy list, too.
Chayote is lower in iron and calcium than other kinds of squash with only 1% of your calcium needs and 1.2% of iron (source: nutritionix).
Finally, Yellow squash has the lowest calories with 20 calories per 100 grams but is still a moderate source of vitamins and minerals.
A yellow squash serving of this size contains 5% of your daily potassium requirement, 4.2% of the recommended amount of vitamin A, 9.2% of your vitamin C needs, 2.1% of the recommended daily dose of calcium and 2% of your iron needs. It will also provide 6% of the recommended daily amount of fiber (source: nutritionix).
As you can probably gather from the above information, squash is a nutritious and healthy option for pregnancy!
Should I Choose Organic Squash When Pregnant?
Pregnant women should eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables per day, regardless of whether it is organic or not.
There is not a lot of evidence to suggest that organic food is always healthier. However, one study found that women who ate organic food during pregnancy were 58% less likely to give birth to a baby boy with hypospadias, which is a birth defect, than mothers who never ate any organic food.
There was no link between mothers who ate organic foods and cryptorchidism (source: Environmental Health Perspectives).
There’s also the issue of pesticides used when squash is grown. How much pesticide squash has been treated with depends on the country of origin.
Winter squash from Guatemala or Honduras, Mexico is said to have very low pesticide use while squash from the U.S. tends to have more (source: consumer reports). Fruit and vegetables, including squash, will always have a sticker to indicate its country of origin.
Overall, both organic and inorganic squash are safe and healthy during pregnancy. If you can’t find organic (or don’t want to pay a premium for it) – regular squash is just fine when you’re pregnant.
Healthy Ways of Enjoying Squash When Pregnant
Here are some healthy, pregnancy-friendly ideas to incorporate squash into your pregnancy diet:
Squash curry. Squash curry is most often made with butternut squash but any other kind of squash can be subbed in. Make your curry sauce with coconut milk and red curry paste and serve cooked cubbed squash with chicken, rice and other veggies. In case you were wondering – spicy foods are OK when pregnant, but they might have side effects.
Butternut squash soup. Squash soup is made my cooking butternut squash in the oven and then blending with other ingredients like vegetable broth, salt, olive oil, pepper and garlic before heating in a pot. It might be a mild, warming option in the winter or perhaps when nausea strikes and you just want something soothing.
Squash Salad – There are many endless variations of butternut squash salad (but any kind of squash can be used). One idea is to oven roast the squash and combine it with diced almonds, kale, purple cabbage and top with cheese and a vinegar and Dijon mustard dressing.
Squash couscous bowl. A squash couscous bowl combines roasted squash with cooked couscous, other veggies such as kale, avocado and pecans and a dollop of olive oil. Delicious!
Can I Eat Squash Seeds When Pregnant?
Generally speaking, squash and other seeds are safe and healthy during pregnancy.
Roasted squash seeds might be something you find yourself craving and are loaded with nutritional benefits, but they might not be very common (when compared to the likes of pumpkin or sunflower seeds) due to husks and shells.
100 grams of squash seeds contains only 23 calories, so they’re a great crunchy snack, too. As far as seeds go they’re low in protein and fat with only 1 gram each. However, a serving this size has 5% of your daily potassium needs, 22% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A. As well as, 19% of your vitamin C needs, 1.7% of calcium and 2.1% iron (source: nutritionix).
Squash seeds are not often in stores, but store-bought seeds may have added sodium and flavorings. Bear in mind that sprouted seeds are not recommended during pregnancy as sprouts are very easily prone to bacterial contamination (source: NHS). Make sure all seeds are clean and unsprouted during pregnancy.
Overall, squash is a healthy, nutritious pregnancy option – enjoy your squash!