Yellow squash is a popular summer squash that is a staple in many diets. Its mild flavor and versatility make it an ideal low-carb vegetable for keto dieters. But can you really eat unlimited amounts of yellow squash on a ketogenic diet? Here’s what you need to know about eating yellow squash on keto.
What is Yellow Squash?
Yellow squash is a type of summer squash that is in the same family as zucchini. There are several varieties of yellow squash, with some of the most common being straightneck, crookneck, and pattypan squash. Yellow squash has pale yellow skin and tender flesh. When harvested young, the rind is edible.
Some key nutrients found in yellow squash include:
- Vitamin C – An antioxidant that supports immune function
- Vitamin A – Important for eye and skin health
- Magnesium – Supports muscle and nerve function
- Manganese – Involved in metabolism and nutrient absorption
- Potassium – Helps control blood pressure
- Fiber – Improves digestion and heart health
In addition to vitamins and minerals, yellow squash provides antioxidants like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Yellow Squash Nutrition Facts
Here is the nutrition information for 1 cup (116 grams) of raw yellow squash slices:
As you can see, yellow squash is very low in calories and carbs. A one cup serving contains just 20 calories and 4.5 grams of carbohydrates. It’s also a good source of fiber.
Is Yellow Squash Keto-Friendly?
The great news is that yellow squash is considered a keto-friendly food. Since it’s low in net carbs, it can easily be incorporated into a ketogenic diet.
To find the net carbs in yellow squash, you subtract the fiber from the total carbs. Given that yellow squash has 1.5 grams of fiber per serving, the net carbs come out to just 3 grams per cup.
This carb count falls well below the limits on total and net carbs for a standard ketogenic diet. Therefore, yellow squash can be enjoyed regularly by keto dieters.
Benefits of Yellow Squash on Keto
Adding yellow squash to your keto diet provides several important benefits:
1. Low in Carbs
With just 3 net grams of carbs per cup, yellow squash lets you stay in ketosis without consuming too many carbs. Enjoying low-carb vegetables like yellow squash can help satisfy hunger and provide nutrients.
2. Provides Key Nutrients
Yellow squash contains beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Eating nutrient-dense foods is important on keto to make sure you meet your micronutrient needs.
3. High in Water Content
Over 90% of yellow squash is water. This makes it naturally hydrating. Staying hydrated is crucial on keto to prevent side effects like constipation, headaches, and fatigue.
4. Fiber for Digestive Health
The fiber in yellow squash helps promote regularity and healthy digestion. Getting enough fiber can also reduce keto flu symptoms like constipation.
5. Low in Calories
With only 20 calories in a cup, yellow squash is an ultra low-calorie choice. This makes it easy to enjoy large portions without worrying about excess calories kicking you out of ketosis.
How to Select Yellow Squash
When buying yellow squash, look for squash with bright, glossy skin without any cuts, bruises, or soft spots. The squash should feel firm yet tender when gently pressed. Smaller yellow squash tend to be more tender and have thinner skin.
Choose yellow squash that are 5-8 inches long for the best flavor and texture. Larger squash can have tougher skin and seeds. Store whole yellow squash in the refrigerator crisper drawer for 3-5 days.
Low-Carb Yellow Squash Recipes for Keto
Here are some delicious low-carb ways to enjoy yellow squash on a ketogenic diet:
1. Yellow Squash Noodles
Use a spiralizer to turn yellow squash into veggie noodles. Toss with olive oil, garlic, and parmesan cheese for a fast low-carb pasta alternative.
2. Yellow Squash Lasagna
Make lasagna layers with grated yellow squash instead of pasta noodles for a keto twist.
3. Roasted Yellow Squash
Roast yellow squash wedges tossed in avocado oil and seasonings for a simple side dish.
4. Yellow Squash Salad
Thinly slice raw yellow squash and add to salads for extra crunch and nutrients.
5. Yellow Squash Fritters
Grate yellow squash and mix with eggs, cheese, and almond flour to make keto-friendly fritters.
Tips for Cooking Yellow Squash
Here are some tips for preparing yellow squash:
- Wash squash just before cooking since moisture speeds up spoilage.
- Trim squash ends and cut in half lengthwise before slicing to remove seeds.
- Use squash raw in salads or cook briefly by steaming, sautéing, roasting or grilling to preserve texture.
- Butter, olive oil, cheese, nuts, garlic, basil, dill complement yellow squash’s mild flavor.
- Avoid overcooking yellow squash, as it can become watery and mushy.
Potential Downsides of Yellow Squash
Yellow squash is very low in carbs and can be included daily on a keto diet. However, there are a couple things to keep in mind:
Yellow squash belongs to the gourd family, so people with sensitivities to melons, zucchini or cucumbers may need to avoid it. Pay attention to any adverse reactions after eating it.
Squash crops tend to be heavily sprayed with pesticides. Buying organic yellow squash can minimize exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
All squash contains anti-nutrients like cucurbitacins which can be irritating to digestion in large amounts. Cooking helps reduce these.
Although low carb, yellow squash does have some effect on blood sugar. People tracking blood glucose closely may want to be mindful of portion sizes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you eat unlimited yellow squash on keto?
While yellow squash is low carb, portions should be monitored. Anything over 3-4 cups per day could potentially knock you out of ketosis depending on carb limits.
Is yellow squash better than zucchini for keto?
Yellow squash and zucchini are both excellent for keto with minimal differences in nutrition. Yellow squash has slightly more vitamin A while zucchini has a bit more potassium.
What are easy low-carb yellow squash recipes?
Some easy keto yellow squash recipes include sautéed squash, roasted squash with parmesan, squash noodles with pesto, and zucchini pizza bites made with yellow squash slices.
Can you eat yellow squash skin on keto?
Yes, the skins of young, tender yellow squash are edible. The skin contains beneficial nutrients and fiber. Older squash may need peeling if skins are tough.
Is yellow squash high in oxalates?
Yellow squash contains minimal amounts of oxalates, making it safe for people with kidney stones or gout. Spinach, nuts, and berries are higher oxalate foods.
The Bottom Line
Yellow squash is an excellent low-carb vegetable to include on a ketogenic diet. With only 3 net grams of carbs and 20 calories per cup, it’s a nutrient-packed choice that won’t kick you out of ketosis. Enjoy yellow squash raw or cooked in moderation along with other keto-friendly produce as part of a healthy meal plan.