Sweet potatoes: A sweet way to bolster eating healthy
As one of the top ten most nutritious vegetables, the sweet potato is a go-to vegetable for healthy eating.
As one of the top ten most nutritious vegetables, the sweet potato should rank high on your grocery list. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, sweet potatoes are the top ranking nutritional all-star. Rich in Vitamin A, C, B6, antioxidants like the beta-carotene, anti-inflammatory properties and blood sugar regulation properties, the sweet potato can be a go-to vegetable for those striving for a top-10 healthy meal.
Sweet potatoes rival carrots in the amount of beta-carotene they host. As an important nutrient that is associated with the prevention of cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, stabilizing blood sugar and lowering insulin resistance, beta carotene is typically more abundant in sweet potatoes.
While sweet potatoes can typically be found year around in the grocery store, November and December are when they are in season. They are a very versatile vegetable and can be prepared in a variety of ways as an ingredient or as a stand-alone side dish. Sweet potatoes can be grilled, baked, steamed, roasted or puréed.
Healthy recipes for sweet potatoes are readily available on the internet. One recipe site that is particularly useful is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recipe finder. Simply enter the ingredient in the search function and nutritious recipes that include that ingredient will pop up. Also included in the results are the nutrition values and costs associated with the recipe. This site will also assist in creating a shopping list based on the recipes selected.
The USDA ChooseMyPlate campaign encourages us to make sure that half of our plates are made up of fruits and a variety of vegetables. Tips on how to do that can be found at this link.
For more information about using, storing and preserving sweet potatoes, visit the MSU Extension Michigan Fresh sweet potato fact sheet.