Nutritional Comparison: Butternut Squash and Sweet Potatoes
It wouldn’t be the chilly seasons without butternut squash (surprisingly a fruit) and sweet potato (vegetable!) as staples in delicious dishes. If you’re wondering how they differ in nutritional value, we’ve got you covered with the handy chart ahead, and we also spoke with some dietitians about their opinions of the two flavorful ingredients.
Butternut squash has fewer calories, grams of sugar, and carbs per cup than a sweet potato. Neither is particularly high in protein (fruits and vegetables shouldn’t be your sole source of protein anyway), but you can certainly combine them with other ingredients to make a high-protein meal — take this sweet potato bread, for instance.
Chef and registered dietitian Tessa Nguyen, RD, LDN, told POPSUGAR that butternut squash and sweet potato are quite comparable “both nutritionally and with cooking applications. They’re both affordable, delicious, and versatile ways to work in a wholesome carbohydrate rich in vitamins A and C, fiber, and potassium.”
Dietitian and founder of Culina Health Vanessa Rissetto, MS, RD, CDN, told POPSUGAR that butternut squash and sweet potato both add fiber, and they have a sweeter taste, which she noted can help some people who are interested in satisfying their sweet tooth without true desserts. “They are both a complex carb [and] can help with feeling full, and that’s a perfect food in my book,”
Nguyen said that people with diabetes can “confidently” eat butternut squash and sweet potato interchangeably, “as per their individual needs of carbohydrate intake.” However, when in doubt, always consult with your doctor (and moderation is key).
As for recipes, Nguyen said they’re great in both sweet and savory dishes. You can find some of her favorites, such as sweet potato blueberry coconut oatmeal and sweet potato white bean burgers, here (she said you can use butternut squash in place of sweet potatoes, too). Rissetto personally likes to add sweet potatoes to her eggs. And, here’s a butternut squash soup we like as the weather cools.