The Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
1. Sweet Potato Chips
Why buy a bag of gross, greasy snack foodwhen you can make these nutrient-packed chips at home? To get started, turn your oven to 375 degrees. While it warms, nuke a couple of medium peeled sweet potatoes for a minute. Cut the warm spuds into very thin slices. “Then toss them with fresh diced herbs—rosemary or thyme is perfect—plus a bit of oil," says Lyniece North Talmadge, author of The Sweet Potato Lover's Cookbook. Bake them in single layer on a nonstick baking sheet for 30 to 45 minutes, or until crispy. For more flavor, use salt and pepper or a bit of balsamic vinegar.
2. Rice & Sweet Potatoes Side
For a perfect side to grilled chicken or steak, finely dice a sweet potato and dump it into the water when you start cooking the rice. Let the mixture come to a boil and steam. When done, fluff with a fork, then stir in additional ingredients such as chopped almonds or mint.
3. Sweet Potato Soup
To make a delicious sweet potato soup, toss a diced onion and 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot and cook until tender. Add a dash of curry powder, the flesh of 3 precooked sweet potatoes, and 5 cups of vegetable stock, then bring the mixture to a boil. Let cool, then pour into a blender. Process until smooth. Return to pot. Stir in a cup of coconut milk and 1/2 cup of water. Heat until warm.
4. Sweet Potato Fries
Here, the easiest ever side for that burger. Just coat peeled raw sweet- potato wedges with olive oil and roast on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees or until golden and soft. (You can also try this easy Sweet Potato Fries Recipe from Michelin-starred chef Brandon Sharp.)
5. Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Instead of using instant potatoes for a quick side, steam peeled sweet-potato chunks until tender (about 10 minutes) and mash with a bit of O.J. Done and done.
6. Baked Sweet Potato
A simple baked sweet potato makes a great fiber-rich snack or side. Just toss an unpeeled sweet potato into the oven at 400 degrees and let cook for 30–40 minutes or until soft. You can also nuke them on high for 4–6 minutes. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt or, for some extra kick, drizzle some hot sauce or sriracha on top.
Don't let those disgustingly sugary Thanksgiving-day dishes fool you. Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse, ideal whether you're trying to cut carbs and lose weight—or bulk up and build muscle. What, exactly, are these fiber-rich root vegetables packing?
- Carotenoids: plant compounds that squelch cell damage caused by everyday living—and challenging workouts.
- Vitamin E: an antioxidant that may protect against heart disease.
- Potassium: a mineral necessary for muscle contraction, nerve transmission, bone health, water balance, and normal blood pressure. (It's got more than bananas, believe it or not.)
- Copper: it assists in the production of collagen, which is responsible for keeping muscles healthy and skin taut.
- Quercetin: research shoes this potent phytonutrient may help you breathe easier by warding off allergies, hay fever, and asthma.
So how do you work them into your diet? First, buy firm, medium-size sweet potatoes or yams without any cracks, bruises or soft spots. (Pro tip: in most American grocery stores, yams and sweet potatoes are actually the same thing.) Then, find some fun ways to cook them up.
For six easy recipes to get you started, Check out the slideshow above.
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