Fall is in full swing – trees are shedding their leaves, the air is brisk, and fall produce are plentiful. During this month, we are turning the spotlight on one of my favorite root vegetables, the sweet potato, for National Sweet Potato Awareness Month. Sweet potatoes are popular in the conversation on health due to their nutrient content and sweet taste which is versatile and easy to introduce to any favorite fall dish.
Like the falling leaves, sweet potatoes are typically a rich orange color, inside and out. Beneath their smooth, edible skin, sweet potatoes are bright orange and are smooth and moist with a subtle sweetness. They can replace potatoes in most recipes and are full of health benefits.
So what is so great about sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients and contain more fiber and fewer calories than a regular potato and contain complex carbohydrates which are more easily digested than simple carbohydrates. This combination of fiber and easily digested carbs will leave you feeling comfortable and satisfied after a meal. Sweet potatoes are also filled with vitamins and minerals to nourish your body, including plenty of vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, potassium and more.
A one cup serving of sweet potato more than 100% of the daily value of vitamin A, which helps maintain skin, tissue, and eye health. Antioxidants vitamin E and the carotenoid beta-carotene, which is found in red foods such as the sweet potato, act to protect your cells and maintain good health. Vitamin C is another antioxidant which aids your immune system and may help your body stay healthier during the changing seasons.
Now that I have convinced you sweet potatoes deserve a place in your kitchen, I’m going to share with you a few quick tips for incorporating them into your favorite fall meals.
Sweet potatoes take around 45 minutes to bake, so plan ahead and make extras to keep for quick heating for any meal. For a quick meal, add them to any seasonal salad. Try a bed of dark greens with pieces of baked sweet potato, sliced apples, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, plus any of you other favorite vegetables and lean protein. Drizzle with olive oil and enjoy a filling, nutrient-rich meal.
Your turn to take action: Try to incorporate sweet potatoes into your favorite meals this season and share your favorite recipes below!