How sweet it is: Sweet potatoes

Add new flavor to your dinner by adding a healthy food like sweet potatoes.

Before you decide that sweet potatoes aren’t for you, just try one. The sweet potato just became sweeter because it provides so many vitamins and nutrients we need daily to help our bodies function properly.

There are a variety of ways to cook sweet potatoes; baking, boiling to mashing, roasting; they can be treated just like any other potatoes. Sweet potatoes add color to your table as well as fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium to your diet. Michigan State University Extension recommends trying sweet potatoes as part of your daily nutritional intake.

Sweet potatoes are often referred to as “yams,” this came about in the United States when southern producers distinguished sweet potatoes from lighter flesh species. “Yams” are a completely different species and grow only in the tropics. There are many varieties in the long line of sweet potatoes. Even though this nutrient rich crop appears to be in the potato section they are really a part of the Morning Glory specie.

As far as the nutritional value of the sweet potato, they contain complex carbohydrates and fiber. It is important to remember that another health benefit is that they do not have any fat or cholesterol, unless you add it. Keep additives like butter to a minimum. Taste the sweet goodness that sweet potatoes naturally have.

Before you cook or eat sweet potatoes wash them to make sure they are clean from soil. They are grown in the ground and bacteria can easily contaminate the flesh if it is not clean from debris. There are a variety of ways to use sweet potatoes.

  • One is to bake them with the skin on. The nutritional value of the skin bakes into the flesh and provides extra nutritional value.
  • Try adding a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg to mashed sweet potatoes for just a different taste.
  • Slice a couple sweet potatoes and add them to your scalloped potato dish
  •  Add them as cubed pieces to stew or soup.

There are many ways to add a healthy sweet potato to your diet. Be creative with your cooking; the flavor may surprise you!

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