How Sweet It Is - Vitamin-packed Sweet Potatoes Leave White Spuds in the Dirt

A primary source of nourishment for native Americans, early European colonists and soldiers during both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, sweet potatoes later were relegated to holiday tables, served as a complement to Thanksgiving turkey or holiday roast.

Today, sweet potatoes are making a comeback: orange-fleshed mashes, fries and tots are commonly found on restaurant menus and in the frozen-food aisle at grocery stores. Though fried potatoes of any color should be eaten sparingly, baked or boiled sweet potatoes offer exceptional health benefits. 

Power Up

Considered one of the healthiest vegetables of all, sweet potatoes are the root of a tropical vine in the morning- glory family. Brimming with beta-carotene, fiber and vitamins A (five times the recommended daily intake), C and E, they’re a good choice when it comes to adding cancer-fighting nutrients to your diet and improving digestive health. Compared to white (also called Irish) potatoes, they have more vitamins, more fiber, fewer calories and fewer total carbs—despite having more sugar. They’re also fat-free.

Buy | Store | Serve

When shopping, choose sweet potatoes that are firm and smooth, without bruises or discoloration. Store them unwashed in a cool, dry place and use within three to five weeks. Sweetness increases during storage. Don’t refrigerate—the cold turns the potato’s natural sugars to starch. Like white potatoes, sweet potatoes can be baked, grilled, boiled or microwaved.

Lightly season with salt and pepper or highlight their sweet side by sprinkling with brown sugar and cinnamon. For healthy potato chips, slice thinly, brush lightly with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees (or until lightly browned and crisp). Try adding thinly sliced, cooked sweet potato to your sandwich, or pop sweet-potato slices on the grill until browned to your liking, then drizzle with lime juice. And of course, you can mash them. You can even try them raw by shredding onto a salad.

Did You Know?

Sweet potatoes and yams are two different vegetables, with sweet potatoes offering more nutritional benefits and being more widely available in the U.S.

Tags: Healthy Eating, Nutrition and Eating, Weight Loss

Last Updated: September 14, 2017