Healthy Sweet Potatoes for the Holidays

A real southern meal for the holidays is never complete without sweet potatoes. This healthier alternative to its distant relative, the white potato, usually loses its “healthy glow” in dishes loaded with white and brown sugar, candied nuts and/or masses of ultra-sweet marshmallows.

 

The sugary sweetness of these “casseroles” is often irresistible but you can satisfy your sweet potato craving in a much healthier way. After all, these orange root veggies are light in calories at about 100 for a medium size example and full of other good things. Containing almost no fat, they provide lots of antioxi-dants, plenty of potassium and manganese, and good dietary fiber. Best of all for many, they give you mega-doses of beta-carotene and vitamins A, C, and B6.

 

Sweet potatoes have a natural sweetness and flavor which doesn’t need all the additives to be good. For a healthy sweet potato, simply bake one just like a regular russet after piercing the skin. I prefer oven baked but the microwave is always a quick alternative.

 

Once baked, the fun begins. I split the potato open, slice up the meat and add just a tiny pinch of salt which brings out the flavor. For that holiday sweetness, I usually add a packet of artificial sweetener [or just a touch of sugar], Smart Balance, cinnamon, and/or a touch of honey. Naturally, you can splurge and use but-ter, brown sugar and a few toasted and diced pecans or walnuts. Whatever your route to baked sweet potato “heaven,” you get all the veggie’s great benefits with a minimum of work. Enjoy and don’t ask me about the carbs. You can’t have everything.

 

–Dick Funderburke