One whole baked zucchini contains approximately 40 calories. The exact calorie count can vary slightly depending on the size of the zucchini and how it is prepared. Zucchini is a nutritious, low-calorie food that can be a healthy addition to many meals.
Calories in Zucchini
The calorie content of zucchini is quite low, which is one of the reasons it is considered a nutritious food option, especially for those looking to reduce calorie intake. Here is an overview of the calories in one whole zucchini, both raw and baked:
|Raw zucchini (one whole medium)||33 calories|
|Baked zucchini (one whole medium)||40 calories|
As shown, baking adds only a few calories to the total. The exact calorie count can vary slightly depending on the size of the zucchini. Larger, thicker zucchinis may have slightly more calories.
Calories in Other Zucchini Dishes
When zucchini is incorporated into other dishes, the calorie count will increase depending on the other ingredients used. Here are the calories for one whole zucchini prepared using some common cooking methods:
– Zucchini fries (breaded/baked) – Approximately 150 calories for 10-15 fries
– Sauteed zucchini – About 60 calories for 1 cup
– Zucchini noodles – Around 20 calories per 1 cup
– Zucchini bread – 115 calories per slice
– Zucchini casserole – Can range from 200-300 calories per serving depending on ingredients used
As you can see, the calories increase significantly when zucchini is combined with higher calorie ingredients like oil, cheese, and breading. However, zucchini remains one of the lower calorie vegetable options even in prepared dishes.
Nutritional Benefits of Zucchini
In addition to being low in calories, zucchini offers many beneficial nutrients. Here is an overview of some of the key nutrients provided in one whole raw zucchini:
|Nutrient||Amount||% Daily Value|
|Vitamin C||21.3 mg||24%|
|Vitamin A||469 IU||9%|
Some of the key benefits of these nutrients include:
– Vitamin C – Important for immune function and collagen production. Also acts as an antioxidant.
– Vitamin A – Helps maintain eye health and benefits the immune system.
– Folate – Important for red blood cell production and DNA synthesis. Especially crucial for pregnant women.
– Potassium – Supports nerve signaling, muscle contraction, and heart health.
– Magnesium – Involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Supports bone, muscle, nerve, and immune health.
– Manganese – Aids in nutrient absorption, bone development, and wound healing.
Zucchini retains many of these nutrients even after cooking, though some loss will occur depending on cooking method. Nonetheless, cooked zucchini remains nutritious and the low calorie count makes it easy to get a serving of vegetables.
Tips for Enjoying Zucchini
Here are some tips to help you enjoy zucchini as part of a healthy, low-calorie diet:
– Roast sliced or quartered zucchini in the oven with just a spritz of olive oil and seasoning. Roast at 400°F for 20-30 minutes until tender.
– Saute zucchini noodles or spiralized zucchini for a pasta alternative. Cook just until tender-crisp.
– Make zucchini fritters by shredding zucchini and mixing with egg, flour, and seasonings. Pan fry in a bit of oil.
– Bake zucchini into breads, muffins, or cakes by shredding and mixing it into the batter. It adds moisture and nutrients.
– Stuff halved or sliced zucchinis with lean protein, vegetables, beans, or grains. Bake or grill until tender.
– Grill thick zucchini planks or spears for quick veggie side dishes.Brush with oil and seasoning.
– Add shredded or diced zucchini to soups, stews, and chili for extra nutrition without many more calories.
– Mix diced zucchini into rice or grain dishes like pilaf or risotto. It increases the nutritional value.
To retain nutrients and prevent spoilage, proper storage of zucchini is important. Here are some tips:
– Store unwashed, uncut zucchini in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. It will keep for 5-7 days.
– Wash zucchini right before preparation to avoid premature softening. Dry thoroughly.
– Cut or spiralized zucchini can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
– Frozen zucchini retains nutrients well. Slice or shred before freezing for easy use later.
– Cooked zucchini dishes and baked goods made with zucchini also freeze well for later use.
Proper storage helps prevent loss of moisture and texture. Zucchini tends to get soft, rubbery, or watery if stored improperly. Follow these tips to keep it fresh and enjoy the most nutrients.
Zucchini has a very strong safety profile and minimal risks for most people. However, some considerations include:
– Allergies – Zucchini allergies are rare but can cause reactions for sensitive individuals, especially when raw. Cooked zucchini is less allergenic.
– Pesticides – If not grown organically, zucchini may contain pesticide residues. Washing well can help reduce residues.
– Salicylate sensitivity – Zucchini contains salicylates which can trigger reactions in those with salicylate intolerance.
– Vitamin K – The vitamin K content can interfere with blood thinning medication. Consumption should be monitored.
– Digestive effects – Some people may experience bloating or gas from overconsumption, especially when eating raw zucchini.
For most people, zucchini is very safe when consumed in typical food amounts. It is not common to see adverse effects and can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet.
Zucchini is perfectly safe for pregnant women to eat and offers beneficial nutrition. Some key benefits include:
– Folate content – Important for fetal neurological development and prevention of birth defects. Zucchini is a natural source of folate.
– Water content – Helps prevent dehydration and constipation which are common during pregnancy. Zucchini is 95% water.
– Vitamins and minerals – Provides important vitamins and minerals needed in increased amounts during pregnancy like vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, and potassium.
– Fiber – Improves digestion and prevents excess weight gain. The skin of zucchini is high in fiber.
Of course, it is always best to eat zucchinis and all produce thoroughly washed to reduce risk of toxoplasmosis from soil. But zucchini is considered one of the safer fruits and vegetables during pregnancy. Enjoy it baked, roasted, sautéed or incorporated into a variety of healthy recipes!
With its low glycemic index and carbohydrate count, zucchini is an excellent choice for diabetics looking for healthy vegetable options that won’t spike blood sugar levels. Here are some benefits of zucchini for diabetics:
– Low glycemic index – The GI of zucchini is only 15, meaning it has minimal impact on blood glucose.
– High in fiber – The skin of zucchini contains insoluble fiber that helps control blood sugar.
– Low in carbs – With only 3 grams of digestible carbs per serving, zucchini helps keep carb consumption low.
– High in nutrients – Provides important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help minimize diabetes complications.
– Versatile – Zucchini can be cooked in a variety of ways and substitutes well for higher carb foods like noodles, rice, and bread.
Monitor portion sizes of all foods, but zucchini is a great choice as part of a diabetic diet. Enjoy it baked, roasted, grilled, or sautéed for maximum benefits.
For Weight Loss
Zucchini is an excellent food to incorporate into a weight loss diet. Some of the top benefits include:
– Low in calories – With only about 20 calories per one cup raw, zucchini provides nutrients without many calories.
– High in water – The high water content helps keep you full. And water has zero calories.
– Nutrient-dense – Zucchini provides many nutrients for minimal calories, preventing nutrient deficiencies.
– High in fiber – The fiber adds bulk and slows digestion to curb appetite.
– Versatile – It can be used as a lower-calorie substitute for heavier foods like pasta, rice, and bread.
Eat zucchini at meals to help fill your plate with nutrition without overloading on calories. Combine it with lean proteins, heart healthy fats, and other non-starchy veggies as part of balanced diet for weight management.
As Baby Food
Once baby starts solids around six months, roasted or steamed and pureed zucchini can make an excellent first food. Here are some of the benefits:
– Texture – Smooth, creamy pureed or mashed zucchini is easy to swallow for first foods.
– Taste – The mild flavor helps babies accept and enjoy the taste of vegetables.
– Nutrition – Provides vitamin A, C, potassium and folate for growing babies.
– No choking hazard – Soft, pureed zucchini is easy to swallow with no choking risk.
– No allergies – Zucchini allergies are very rare so it’s unlikely to cause reactions.
Always check for readiness and start with small amounts of just one new food at a time. But the nutrition, mild flavor and smooth texture makes zucchini a great first veggie when starting solids!
As a Snack
In addition to being a tasty and nutritious addition to meals, zucchini can also make a healthy snack in a variety of ways:
– Raw with dip – Sliced or spiralized raw zucchini dipped in hummus, Greek yogurt, or bean dip
– Zucchini fries – Baked breaded or air fried zucchini spears
– Zucchini chips – Thinly slice, toss in oil and spices, and bake until crispy
– Zucchini muffins – Grate zucchini and add to a healthier muffin batter
– Chocolate zucchini bread – Add grated zucchini to your favorite recipe
– Zucchini pizza bites – Use sliced zucchini as the crust and top with sauce and cheese
– Veggie muffin tin frittatas – Bake egg, zucchini, tomato etc. in greased muffin tins
– Zucchini pancakes – Grate zucchini into batter and cook like pancakes
Zucchini is low calorie, so it makes for a filling snack that won’t ruin your appetite. It provides nutrients and satisfaction whether you eat it raw or baked into portable snacks.
Recipes to Try
Here are some tasty and healthy recipes featuring zucchini:
Zucchini Noodle Marinara
– Spiralized or julienned zucchini noodles
– Marinara or tomato sauce
– Basil, oregano, garlic, onion
– Reduced fat mozzarella cheese
Toss zucchini noodles in sauce and microwave 3-5 minutes until tender. Top with herbs and cheese.
– Shredded zucchini
– Whole eggs and egg whites
– Whole wheat flour
– Parmesan cheese
– Garlic powder, salt, pepper
– Cooking oil spray
Mix ingredients and drop spoonfuls into hot skillet sprayed with oil. Cook 2-3 minutes per side until browned and crispy.
– Sliced zucchini instead of noodles
– Tomato sauce
– Part skim ricotta and parmesan
– Fresh basil
– Mozzarella cheese
Layer zucchini slices with sauce, cheese, and herbs. Bake at 375°F covered for 45 minutes.
Baked Zucchini Fries
– Zucchini cut into fries or spears
– Whole wheat breadcrumbs
– Parmesan cheese
– Italian seasoning
– Cooking spray
Coat zucchini in breadcrumb mixture. Arrange on sheet pan sprayed with oil. Bake 25 minutes at 425°F.
One whole baked zucchini contains approximately 40 calories and offers an array of beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Zucchini provides a healthy dose of nutrition for minimal calories, making it a great addition to any weight loss or diabetic diet. It can be incorporated into a wide variety of dishes, from pasta replacements to baked goods to snacks. With its stellar nutritional profile and versatility, zucchini is one vegetable that you should aim to eat more of. Enjoy it simply roasted, baked into breads and muffins, or pureed for babies. With so many options, you can easily add more of this nutritious, low-calorie squash into your meals and snacks.