Sweet potatoes, often confused with the yam, are a super food you can feel good about eating daily. Boil em, mash em, stick em in a stew, this delectable can also be dessert.
Sweet Potatoes Vs Yams
Many people don’t know the difference between a sweet potato and a yam, considering them to be the same thing. Fact: most people in the U.S. have never had a true yam. Thanks to the FDA, marketing of the sweet potato is a confusion in itself.
The U.S. government has perpetuated the error of labeling sweet potatoes “yams.” In most cases sweet potatoes are labeled with both terms, which just adds to the confusion. Since there are two types of sweet potatoes, one with creamy white flesh and one with orange, the USDA labels the orange-fleshed ones “yams” to distinguish them from the paler variety. — You can read more about the differences at the Huffington Post
Sweet Potatoes – The Numbers
According to the USDA, 1 medium sweet potato (114g) cooked, baked in skin, without salt has 103 calories, with 0 of those calories being from fat. There is 0 cholesterol, 40mg of Sodium and 24 grams of total Carbohydrates.
Sweet Facts of the Sweet Potato
- Low Glycemic Index/Complex Carbohydrate: For a diabetic, sweet potatoes are on the low glycemic index, meaning they will raise their blood sugar levels slowly, gradually returning to a normal blood sugar level. Replacing rice or white potatoes with sweet potatoes has more of a nutritional benefit, plus taste better. (Note: Eating sweet potatoes with out skins changes this to medium glycemic index. Eating the sweet potato skin will lower the glycemic index and provide additional nutrients.)
- Full of Beta carotene and Vitamin A: These antioxidents are said to ward off cancer and reduce aging. Also helps boost your immune system, and your eye sight. Also keeps your bones and teeth healthy.
- Vitamin C: Sweet potatoes contain about 35 percent of your daily Vitamin C daily needs. Vitamin C helps you to fight infections, increase your immune system, and absorb iron.
- Other Antioxidents: Potassium, Manganse, B6, Vitamin D and Iron. Good for heart health, your muscles, thyroid, metabolism, and a pluthra of other things. They are also said to reduce cholesterol.
- Fiber Content: Sweet potatoes are a super fiber source. They contain 4 grams of fiber when combined with their skin.
- Is a “beauty” food: With the content of Vitamin C, E, and beta carotene, this one food helps add a healthy complexion and good hair.
So now we know how wonderful sweet potatoes are, what can you do with them?
Things to do with Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are so versatile for dinner, dessert or a snack. Here are a couple of my personal favorite uses for them. Not all of these are “healthy”, but better for you then a lot of other things.
- Use them in potato salad instead of white potatoes
- Make Chutney
- Puree them to add to smoothies
- Make a natural, home made baby food by steaming them and then pureeing them. Depending on the stage of your baby, you can add a little formula or their fruit juice to make it smoother. You can then freeze left overs in ice cube trays and put them into freezer bags for another feeding. An ice cube is aprox 2 tablespoons, check your own trays for measurements.
- Make sweet potato pie!
- Make them mashed – Steam the chunks until tender, add a little orange juice, or greek yogurt, or butter…. mash em up. I personally mash them with skins on.
- Bake them – Scrub them clean, pierce with fork, Bake at 400 degrees until tender 45 – 60 mins. Loosen the flesh by rolling it on the counter gently in a clean towel, slice open, add a little butter, enjoy.
- Add them to your crock pot with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water so they will not dry out during cooking, set on low, cook 4 – 6 hours until tender.
- Roast em!
- Substitute them for white potatoes in recipes like pot roast, or top things like shepherd’s pie with mashed sweet potatoes instead of normal white mashed potatoes.
- Make Fries – Cut into fries, brush on a little olive oil, bake on a sheet pan at 450 degrees for about 25 minutes or until tender. Remember to flip half way through cooking time. If you really must have these fried, soak them in water first.
- Make sweet potato chips – slice thin, brush with a little olive oil, sprinkle on some rosemary and thyme, bake at 450 degrees for about 25 mins, you want them crisp so adjust accordingly. Sprinkle them warm from the oven with a little Parmesian cheese if desired.
- Instead of your normal potato soup, make sweet potato soup instead.
- Add puree to your pancake, muffin, cookie or cake recipe. *One of our favorite cookies is simply, 1 cup of mashed sweet potatoes, 1 cup of pnut butter, 1 egg, 1 cup of brown sugar, Mix well. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, roll dough into balls, and smash down with fork. Bake for about 10 mins. Allow to cool for 2 before removing to wired rack.*
- Make ice cream! Add puree to your favorite fruity ice cream recipe. Add in some chocolate chips, caramel, and marshmallows for a delicious treat.
- Make sweet potato and hummus wraps. – Load up a wrap shell like you would a burrito with mashed sweet potatoes, hummus and some goat cheese (you can use any other soft cheese you prefer). Roll up and grill until cheese is melted and the wrap is warm.
- Make a dessert burrito – Add mashed sweet potatoes, mini marshmallows, brown sugar and cinnamon to a tortilla, roll up and grill until warmed. Make it more decadent by drizzling caramel sauce over the grilled burrito.
- Make breads or biscuits. (for bread you can use your favorite banana bread recipe and substitute mashed sweet potatoes for the banana.)
- Make treats for your dog or cat
Do you use sweet potatoes often? Tells us your favorite uses or thoughts on this super food below.