In Defense of Zucchini


Zucchini As we work on the next Recipe of the Month on Green Mountain’s website, I feel moved to comment on the nutritional value of zucchini.  Okay, so maybe this sounds like a dietitian thing, but I think it is a good model for a common food misunderstanding. People frequently believe certain foods don’t really contribute much, if anything at all, to healthy eating.  I’ve heard this repeatedly said about zucchini, iceberg lettuce, corn and other foods.

According to a nutrition information website, zucchini is “low in Saturated Fat and Sodium, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Vitamin A, Thiamin, Niacin, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese.”  Not too shabby.

According to the same site, iceberg lettuce is “low in Sodium, and very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Iron and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate and Manganese.”

I will say that I’m not totally sure about the credibility of the site from which I take this information.  One reason:  On both the zucchini and iceberg lettuce page, it says that the ‘bad’ thing about both zucchini and iceberg lettuce is that a large portion of their calories come from sugar.  Excuse me!  There are hardly any calories in these foods.  And sugar is another name for carbohydrate.  Sugar or carbohydrates are not necessarily a bad thing!

Even if the site is not totally accurate, it is right that these foods do contribute valuable nutrients to the diet.  So enjoy them and know they’re good for your body, too.

But when you take a look at next week’s Recipe of the Month, be clear that the small amount of zucchini in the chocolate cake really doesn’t transform the cake into a nutrition superstar.   Not that it’s not good for you – enjoyment is always good for us!

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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