“My dream is to become a farmer. Just a Bohemian guy pulling up his own sweet potatoes for dinner.” –Lenny Kravitz
I probably should have posted this article before Thanksgiving.
However, I thought about it after my family decided to opt for sweet potatoes instead of traditional mashed potatoes this Thanksgiving. We made baked sweet potato wedges and they were a big hit. Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite dishes around the holidays, or anytime really. The bonus, of course, is that sweet potatoes are among the most nutritious foods you can eat. The following are some sweet potato nutrition facts that should make anyone want to include them in their diet.
Sweet potatoes are low in calories, but filling creating excellent satiety value.
A medium sized sweet potato is about 100 calories. Compare eating an entire sweet potato to eating one of those tiny “100 calorie snack packs” you see in the supermarket these days. The latter would not fill you up at all. You could eat 3-4 sweet potatoes for less than a few hundred calories! This is amazing bang for your buck, calorie-wise. Selecting low-calorie foods with a high satiety value is a good strategy for staying lean while keeping hunger at bay.
Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and antioxidents.
A medium sweet potato contains about 4 grams of fiber, or about 15% of the recommended daily intake. As I mentioned in a previous post on fiber, most adults struggle to consume the recommended daily amount of 25 grams. Including high-fiber foods like sweet potatoes in your diet will go a long way. Sweet potatoes are among the highest in flavenoids of all root vegetables. Flavenoids are plant compounds that contain powerful antioxidents such as beta carotene and Vitamin A. This is one reason why sweet potatoes are commonly referred to as “superfoods”.
Sweet potatoes are a source of low glycemic index carbs.
Being relatively low on the glycemic index (GI) scale, sweet potatoes will release glucose more slowly into the bloodstream. This, in turn, causes a lower, steadier insulin response over time which is favorable. Carbs are often demonized, but by sticking with lower-GI carbs such as sweet potatoes and by strategically timing your carb intake during optimal windows of consumption such as in the morning or after workouts, you can virtually eliminate the effect of fat gain.
Here is a quick and easy recipe for baked sweet potato wedges:
•Preheat oven to 350 degrees
•Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with extra virgin olive oil cooking spray
•Cut a medium sweet potato into wedges about ½ an inch thick (leave the skin on)
•Place the wedges in the middle of the baking sheet, drizzle 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil on them, and add a little salt, pepper, and cinnamon
•Mix the wedges around until they are all coated evenly with oil and seasonings
•Spread the wedges out on the baking sheet and space them evenly with a couple inches between each one (this helps keep them from getting too soft)
•Bake for about 30 minutes flipping once halfway in between
If I can make these, anyone can!
So there it is. Here is a great tasting food that is easy to prepare and extremely healthy. The sweet potato nutrition facts don’t lie! They really are a “superfood”. I am partial to the baked sweet potato wedges, but whole baked sweet potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes are also good options. Anyone else have any good suggestions on how to prepare them?