The 411 on Sweet Potatoes + Delicious Dish Ideas

Sliced sweet potatoes with toppings

Sweet potatoes are a staple of the holiday season. This large, starchy, sweet-tasting vegetable is both versatile and delicious! But because of its sweet taste and association with the carb family, many people wonder if they’re as healthy as they claim to be.

About Sweet Potatoes

Despite their name, sweet potatoes are less like a regular potato and more like a carrot, turnip, or parsnip. A sweet potato is a root vegetable that stores water and energy underground, which allows them to feed the above-ground parts of the plant.

What Makes Them Sweet?

Sweet potatoes get their name from an enzyme that breaks down starches into a sugar called maltose when heated. The level of sweetness you get will often depend on the cooking method you use. Low heat applied for an extended amount of time will generally yield a sweeter taste.

Still, sweet potatoes are lower on the Glycemic Index than regular potatoes. This means your blood sugar won’t rise as fast after eating one, preventing a dangerous spike in blood sugar that can cause you to feel sick. And while your cooking method also plays a role in how much sugar you get, this root veggie is still a lighter and healthier option.

Health Benefits

  • Has a protective effect on the digestive system
  • High in fiber and supports weight-loss
  • Helps regulate blood pressure and get rid of excess sodium
  • Helps reduce inflammation
  • Rich in vitamin A, C, manganese, B vitamins, potassium, and antioxidants
  • Improves learning, memory, and brain function
  • Helps curb your “sweet tooth” without added processed sugar

Delicious Dish Ideas

Sweet potatoes are very versatile, meaning you can enjoy them in many different ways. Consider these yummy preparation and dish ideas this holiday season.

  • Make a sweet potato chili with vegetables and either lean ground beef or Italian sausage.
  • Create a unique salad using cubed sweet potatoes, leafy greens, dried cranberries, feta cheese, and a dressing of your choice.
  • Roast them on a sheet pan with halved Brussels sprouts or zucchini slices, mixed with olive oil and your favorite seasonings.
  • Cut them long-ways into thin strips for crunchy sweet potato fries.
  • Grill your sweet potatoes to give them a charred texture that pairs nicely with BBQ quicken, pork chops, or a vegetable medley.
  • Make crunchy sweet potato chips in the air fryer.
  • Use a spiralizer to make sweet potato noodles as a gluten-free pasta alternative.
  • Use them in a hearty soup or stew with other ingredients that pair well together: onion, carrot, ginger, Tumeric, white beans, etc.
  • Turn them into (sweet) baked potatoes and get creative in stuffing them.

Want to try some healthy recipes? Check out the ones on FitFoodieFinds, WellPlated, SkinnyTaste, The Food Network, Cooking Light, or Eating Well.

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