Move over pumpkins, squash and apples, there’s a new fall favorite—sweet potatoes. These delicious, starchy root veggies have taken the culinary world by storm making their way onto nearly every menu. And while sweet potatoes are certainly delicious, especially when they’re made into fries, tater tots or covered in brown sugar, they may lose their nutritional edge with these popular preparations.
So, with the fall season upon us, it’s the perfect time to take a closer look at this scrumptious starch. Here are 6 things you should know before going sweet-potato crazy:
1. They reallyare healthy. It’s hard to find a food that strikes the perfect balance between delectable and healthy, but sweet potatoes manage to pull it off. They have healthy amounts of fiber and protein, but that’s nothing compared to huge amount of vitamin A (over 400% of your recommended daily intake) that each potato offers. You’ll also stock up on 37% of your daily vitamin C intake—you lucky duck. Oh, and don’t forget the beta-carotene, manganese, calcium, potassium and iron.
2. There isn’t just one kind. There are actually 5 different types of sweet potatoes and yams are not one of them.
· Jewell (the most popular variety—great for mashing and roasting)
· Oriental (deep purple exterior, great for cubing and frying)
· Garnet (very colorful)
· Covington (ideal for mashing and baking)
· O’Henry (similar to a regular potato, but sweeter)
3. They’re good for your whole body. As you already know, sweet potatoes are nutritional powerhouses. So, what does this mean for your body? Well, they help to:
· Support stomach health
· Promote healthy digestion
· Lower blood pressure
· Support weight loss
· Boost immune health
· Nourish skin and eyes
4. They’re not all created equal. When trying to find that perfect banana or avocado, you may know how to spot whether or not they’re ripe. But sweet potatoes can be a bit trickier. Instead of focusing on how they look, you’ll want to focus more on how they feel. They should feel dense, they should be smooth (not full of soft spots) and they should be firm to the touch.
5. You may be cooking them all wrong. Well, that’s probably not true. Sweet potatoes are notoriously versatile. You can slice and dice them into nearly any shape or size. Whether you’re baking, frying, microwaving or broiling them, they’ll be delicious. However, one big no-no you’re likely committing when cooking sweet potatoes—removing the skin. Not only does the skin provide additional nutrients and minerals, it can be pretty crispy and delicious, too.
6. Sweet potatoes are just the start. There’s no doubt about it, fall is the perfect time to enjoy sweet potatoes—after all, this is when they’re in season. But sweet potatoes are only part of a healthy, balanced diet. Even though they’re wholesome and beneficial, you can’t only eat sweet potatoes, right? So, to help you discover more delicious foods that are great for your overall health, the registered dietitians at GMC will design a diet that’s as unique as you are.