Sweet potatoes often top the list of superfoods–foods with exceptionally higher nutritional value. A root vegetable, sweet potatoes are packed with beta carotene, fiber, manganese (a mineral that helps keep blood sugar levels in check), potassium, and A, B6, and C vitamins. Unlike their white and yellow potato counterparts, sweet potatoes are a slow burning carb, which means you get longer lasting energy, less blood sugar spikes, and better appetite suppression. However when the good stuff graces our holiday tables, all health benefits seem to get smothered under a layer of butter, marshmallows, or whipped cream. If you’ve only experienced the edible tropical tubers in the festive, fat-laden way, then you don’t know what your body’s been missing. Below are some ideas to add sweet potatoes–sans guilt–to your meal plan.
Breakfast: Serve up sweet potatoes as a pal to protein-packed eggs, and you have a breakfast that will keep your morning hunger in check. Using a food processor or box grater, shred about a cup of sweet potatoes. In a nonstick skillet, heat a teaspoon of olive oil and then spread out the shredded sweet potatoes in a thin layer. Let crisp on one side before flipping to do the same on the opposite side. Prepare your eggs in the same pan and breakfast is ready!
Snack: Need a sweet and salty snack? Add some crisp to sweet potatoes for a tasty and healthy chip. Thinly slice sweet potatoes and place on a baking sheet that’s been lightly coated with cooking oil. Spray the potatoes slices with cooking oil, and dust with salt and pepper, or try different spices to add a kick to your chips. Bake at 375 degrees until the start to brown (about 8 minutes) and then flip and repeat. When cooled, toss in a bowl with extra spices or enjoy as is.
Salads: Roasted sweet potatoes are just right over a bed of greens. Cube sweet potatoes and lightly coat with olive oil. On a greased cookie sheet, bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through to prevent burning. When done, add on top of a salad with other fresh veggies, or roast bell peppers and carrots for a warm topping to arugula and spinach.
Soup: Nothing beats a cup of warm soup on a cold day. Puree sweet potatoes and a ¼ cup of chicken or vegetable stock to a baby-food consistency. Transfer to a soup pot and add another ½ cup of stock (more or less depending on desired consistency). Season with sage, salt, and pepper or try chili powder and cinnamon. Heat and serve.
Side: If french fries are your weakness, sweet potatoes can make them your strength. Peel and slice two tubers into wedges, keeping the size uniform so that they can bake consistently. Melt two tablespoons of coconut oil in the microwave. On a greased cookie sheet, place the wedges and coat with the coconut oil. Spread the wedges out so that they are in a single layer and not touching. Sprinkle with sea salt and cayenne pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, flipping halfway.
Main Meal: Sure you could bake a sweet potato and add it as side, but why not make it the main attraction of your meal? Once baked (either in the oven or microwave), let cool enough to handle and slice in half. Scoop out the flesh into a bowl, and stir in mix-ins of your choice. Try black beans, shredded taco-seasoned chicken, and a little salsa for a fiesta night. Or chopped turkey pepperoni, green peppers, and a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese for an pizza replacement. Repack the peel with the goodies from the bowl, and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until warm.
There are so many ways to make sweet potatoes a staple of your healthy eating plan. Try a few of our ideas or find your own and share with us! Tell us in the comments your favorites tuber tastes!