Food For Thought

December Newsletter from the MAPS Food Services Dept

Harvest of the Month: Hubbard Squash

By: Hayley Pfleghaar, MSU Dietetic Student

Squashes are known to peak during the fall and early winter seasons. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. In particular, the Blue Hubbard squash has a greenish-grey, bumpy skin, is dark orange on the inside, and can weigh up to 30 pounds! With a hint of sweetness, it tastes similar to a sweet potato. Blue Hubbard squashes are a great source of vitamins A, B6 and C, as well as offering some potassium and thiamin. This winter squash can be halved and roasted in the oven with a little butter and

brown sugar, just like acorn squash. It can also be cubed

and roasted or sautéed.

Other types of popular late fall/early winter squashes include:

  • Acorn squash
  • Butternut squash
  • Carnival squash
  • Sugar pumpkins
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Delicate squash
  • Buttercup squash

Holiday Eating

By: Hayley Pfleghaar, MSU Dietetic Student

We’ve all done it. The turkey and ham are irresistibly juicy. The mashed potatoes melt in your mouth. The pies, oh the pies, who can eat just one slice? We are all guilty of eating too much. How can we avoid over-stuffing ourselves this holiday season?

1. Eat Breakfast
Eating breakfast not only gives you valuable energy for the day’s cooking and merry-making, but it also helps you feel fuller. When it comes time to eat that holiday meal, you will be less likely to over-serve yourself.

2. Munch On Your Veggies First
When you sit down to a holiday meal, eat your vegetables first. Vegetables are full of fiber and water. This allows them to be low in calories, contain vital nutrients, and help fill you up. Doing this will keep you from filling up less nutritious sources of calories.

3. Modify Portion Sizes
Nothing is better than indulging in grandma’s apple pie, cherry tart, lemon bars or chocolatey brownies and I have good news. You do not avoid your favorite sweet treats. What you can do instead is try eating reducing your portions. If you simply can’t resist eating a slice of pumpkin pie and a cookie or two, split them all in half. You can find a relative to share them with or simply leave the other halves for someone else who passes by the desert table.

4. Remember the Leftovers
Think back on all the holiday dinners you have eaten. Has there ever been a time there were no leftovers? When you are sitting at the table thinking you may be able to fit in just one more serving of this or one more piece of this, remind yourself that there will be leftovers. You will have a chance to eat this meal again in the following days.

5. It’s Okay to Say, “No”
We all have those relatives that like to make sure everyone is full, sometimes too full! Remember that it is perfectly acceptable to politely decline another helping or a special treat. If you would rather not refuse, you could try letting them know that you have eaten enough but would love to take it home with you to eat the next day.

Modified from-

Keeping Your Kids Active Over the Winter Months

By: Hayley Pfleghaar, MSU Dietetic Student

Snow almost assuredly keeps a lot of us in doors for most of the winter, including kids. Let’s face it, sometimes it is just too cold to make a snow fort outdoors. Here are some ways you can help keep your kiddos active this winter.

1. Build Indoor Forts in the Living Room
Stack up couch cushions and throw a few blankets across them to make secret tunnels.

Boot Camp Stations
Create separate stations for jump roping, hopping on one foot, dancing, hopscotch etc... and have each of your children complete them in a row for 1-2 minutes each. It may help to play some bouncy, upbeat music while they are completing their challenges.

3. Play a Chase Version of Hide and Seek
Everyone hides while the seeker counts. The seeker still tries to find the hiders, but must tag them on the arm in order for them to be caught. The hiders not only avoid being seen by the seeker, but also try to make it to a “safety zone” (could be the couch, laundry room, kitchen etc….) before being found and tagged.

Put on your favorite music and have a 15-20-minute dance party. Sounds like fun to me!

5. Follow the Leader Exercise
Choose one person to be the “fire chief”/ leader. Have everyone else be firefighters or superheroes and take turns as the “fire chief”/leader guides everyone through drills like putting out a fire, climbing the ladder (a.k.a. stairs) and going through tunnels.” You can increase the difficulty by timing each round. This exercise is also a great use of imagination!

Modified from-

6. Home Mini-Golf
Go out and buy some plastic, kid-sized golf clubs and set up miniature golf all over the house.

7. Visit a Bowling Alley

8. Create a Mall or Home Scavenger Hunt