For the Love of Sweet Potatoes

Written by Nicole Busboom, EFNEP Extension Assistant

I often ask many of the youth groups I teach to come up with as many vegetables as they can in a given about of time. Sweet potatoes don’t often make the list. Is it because youth don’t know what they are? No. Is it because youth haven’t seen a sweet potato? No. Is it because youth haven’t tried a sweet potato? Yes, most of the time youth just haven’t been given the opportunity to try sweet potatoes.

I personally enjoy eating sweet potatoes whether they are baked, fried, or in a casserole. I have to admit though that when I was a kid, sweet potatoes were not my favorite and often times I would have to sit at the kitchen table longer than the meal time because I would refuse to try at least one bite, which was a household rule. Little did I know at that time I would now include sweet potatoes in my meal planning.

One thing you might not know is that a sweet potato is not a potato at all. They are so different that they’re not even related. Sweet potatoes are actually the root of the plant. They are part of the morning glory family, and their vine-y plants have purple flowers. True potatoes, like white, brown or red ones, are called “tubers.” They are the underground part of the stem of their plant.

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Sweet potatoes are very high in vitamin E and vitamin C. Sweet potatoes provide twice the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A and more than one-third the requirements for vitamin C. They also have lots of beta carotene, vitamin B6, iron, potassium and fiber. Sweet potatoes are one of the greatest sources for dietary fiber, especially when eaten with the skin. Eating sweet potatoes can also help reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.

February is National Sweet Potato month so go and try this yummy delicious treat!

Sweet Potato Fries

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Source: Food Supplement Nutrition Education Program, University of Maryland Extension, and Colorado State University Extension, USDA Mixing Bowl

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, 5” long
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp. paprika (optional)
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder (optional)

Directions

  1. Wash and peel sweet potatoes. Cut into 1/4 inch slices.
  2. In a large bowl, toss slices in olive oil until coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.
  3. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 425°F until tender and golden brown (about 20 minutes), turning occasionally to brown evenly.

Nutrition Information per Serving: Calories 116, Total Fat 7g, Total Carbohydrates 13g, Protein 1g, Dietary fiber 2g, Sodium 36mg, Vitamin D 0mcg, Calcium 20mg, Iron 0mg, Potassium 219mg

Information from Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission http://www.sweetpotato.org/yamster-facts/


This post was reviewed by Morgan Hartline MS, RD, LMNT. Photo by Nicole Busboom.

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