What fruit fills you up and discourages overeating?  Zucchini!  How can this happen?  While often thought of as a vegetable, zucchini is actually a low-starch fruit (meaning it is low in carbohydrates and high in fiber).  Dietary fiber increases food volume without increasing caloric content, making you feel full, which may reduce your appetite.

Health Benefits of Zucchini

cooked zucchiniZucchini has many health benefits.  It is also low in cholesterol, sodium, and fat.  It helps maintain a balance of carbohydrates – a requirement for ideal heart health.  Its high fiber content has been associated with significantly lower risks of developing stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease.  The fiber in this fruit may also increase insulin sensitivity and stabilize blood sugar levels, possibly reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Zucchini is rich in several vitamins, minerals, and other valuable plant compounds.  Specifically, its abundant vitamin A content may support your vision and immune system.  But be careful how you prepare zucchini as raw zucchini offers a similar nutrition profile as cooked zucchini, but with less vitamin A and more vitamin C, a nutrient that tends to be reduced by cooking.

Zucchini is also rich in antioxidants, which help protect your body from damage.  These antioxidants may benefit your eyes, skin and heart; they also offer some protection against certain types of cancer.  The highest levels of antioxidants are found in the fruit’s skin.

Because of the water and fiber found in zucchini, this fruit promotes healthy digestion, reducing your risk of constipation and symptoms of various gut disorders.

Preparing Zucchini

 Try to incorporate it into your meals in some of these ways:

  • Add it raw to salads
  • Stuff with healthy protein or vegetables, then bake it
  • For a mild stir-fry, sauté it
  • Boil it, then blend it into soups
  • Serve it as a side, grilled or sautéed with your favorite spice blends
  • Spiralize it into “zoodles” for spaghetti and meat sauce, or slice it to replace lasagna sheets
  • Bake it into approved bread, pancakes or muffins

In some cultures, the zucchini flower is considered a delicacy. You can sprinkle it raw on salads, soups and stews.

Storing Zucchini

Store unwashed zucchini on your counter for about two weeks.  Or store in a perforated or open plastic bag for up to a week in the refrigerator.  You can also freeze zucchini for later use. There are a couple of ways to prepare the zucchini for the freezer.

  1. Shred unpeeled zucchini, drain it in a colander and then squeeze it gently to remove excess moisture. Place it in sealed freezer bags and freeze flat so the bags can stack in the freezer. Shredding is a great way to freeze if you will be making a casserole, meatballs or fritters.
  2. You can also wash the fruit, dry it thoroughly, cut it into one-inch cubes, and freeze it in freezer bags. Either way, frozen zucchini lasts up to 3 months.

growing zucchiniGrowing Zucchini

Have you ever thought about growing your own zucchini?  Here are a few facts if you ever get the itch:



Try this simple, delicious anti-inflammatory recipe made on your grill or in the oven.  Only one pan; everything else can be tossed in the trash after preparation and cooking is complete! 🙂 


Grilled Chicken & Zucchini Foil Packs

Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Foil Packs

I really enjoy foil-wrapped dinners cooked on the grill because there are minimal dishes to wash and I don't heat up my kitchen in the summer. You can try this with almost any protein and veggies you have on hand. If it's a rainy day or too cold to get out to the grill, by all means use your oven. This meal is delicious grilled or roasted!
Course Main Course
Servings 2


  • 1 large sweet onion thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper or to taste
  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs ~6 oz each, cut into long strips
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
  • 1 medium zucchini chopped
  • 1 bell pepper seeded and sliced, any color


  • Preheat the grill to medium or preheat the oven to 450°F. Cut two 12x18" pieces of heavy-duty nonstick foil pieces (or spray regular heavy-duty foil with nonstick cooking spray).
  • In a large skillet, cook the onion in oil over medium-high heat until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, basil, oregano and crushed red pepper; cook until the tomato paste starts to caramelize, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in broth, stirring to loosen brown bits from the pan. Bring to a boil and cook until the sauce has thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  • Divide chicken strips between the two pieces of prepared foil, placing food on the dull side of the foil; sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with zucchini and bell peppers. Spoon tomato mixture over the zucchini. Fold foil around mixture and seal tightly.
  • Place the packets on grill or on a baking pan in the oven; cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 15-20 minutes, turning the packets once.
  • Remove the packets from heat and open carefully to allow steam to escape. If desired, top with additional basil. Serve immediately.


  • If you do not want to use a pan at all, skip the first few steps and eliminate the sauce.  Just add the onions and herbs to the foil and skip the tomato paste and broth. 
  • This recipe can be made with any vegetables you have on hand such as mushrooms, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, etc.  
  • Also, mix up the protein.  Instead of chicken, try a lean steak, salmon, shrimp or other seafood.  Adjust cooking time to ensure your protein is cooked through but not overcooked.
Keyword Anti-Inflammatory, Bell Pepper, Complete Meal, Entree, herbs, Poultry


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