Thanksgiving is here! One of my favorite things to make on Thanksgiving is winter squash. Yet, with some guests watching their calories to support healthier weights and other guests monitoring carbohydrates because of diabetes, sometimes it gets a bit tricky when thinking about which recipes still fit. I’m all about how food is love and part of making a guest feel welcome is making sure the food you provide on your table can be enjoyed by all. One way to do that? Use a low-calorie sweetener, like aspartame, in some of your favorite dishes.
Here’s a quick look at what the science says about aspartame:
- Over 6,000 products around the world have aspartame as an ingredient to lower calories and lower carbohydrates while still providing a sweet flavor.
- The acceptable daily intake (ADI) for aspartame in a typical adult weighing 150 pounds is 3,400 mg per day. This is equal to 97 packets of tabletop sweetener or 42 (4 ounce) cups of sugar-free gelatin, or 20 (12 ounce) carbonated diet soft drinks.
- Despite what you might see on sensational stories about aspartame, aspartame itself does not enter the bloodstream. It is completely digested by the body into components that can be found in other foods.
- Aspartame is made from common food components, the same ones that occur naturally in meats, grains, dairy products and ripening fruits.
- Aspartame does not cause cancer, does not increase appetite or food intake, does not cause tooth decay and does not raise blood sugar levels.
- Aspartame is one of the most studied ingredients in the world, first discovered in 1965 and now with more than 200 studies that support its safety.
Hopefully with reading those facts, you are more comfortable cooking with low-calorie sweeteners like aspartame. Because here is a sweet dish to add to your Thanksgiving meal.
- 1 large acorn squash, seeded and quartered
- 1/2 cup water
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 1 large cooking apple, unpeeled, cored and sliced
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup apple juice
- 2-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
- 1/4 cup Equal Spoonful (granulated)*
- 1 teaspoon maple flavoring
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash quarters cut side up in square baking dish. Add 1/2 cup water. Bake, covered, for 30-40 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with a fork.
- Meanwhile, spray a medium skillet with cooking spray; place over medium heat. Add apples, raisins and walnuts. Cook for 5 minutes or until apple slices are tender. Set aside.
- For maple syrup, combine apple juice and cornstarch in a small pan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir until thickened and bubbly (it should coat the back of a spoon). Remove from heat. Stir in butter, sweetener, maple flavoring and vanilla until well blended.
- Add maple flavored syrup to apple mixture. Cook 2-3 more minutes or until heated through.
- As squash comes out of oven, place squash on serving platter and spoon apple mixture over top of squash.
- *May substitute 6 packets of Equal sweetener
- Calories: 228
- Fat: 8 grams
- Carbohydrates: 40 grams
- Sodium: 41 mg
Disclosure: As a Calorie Control Council advisor, I was compensated to write this post. But all thoughts and writing are my own.