Naturally sweet, creamy and delicious—there’s a lot to love about sweet potatoes. “One medium sweet potato, baked in its skin with nothing else added, is only about 100 calories,” says Caroline Passerrello, MS, RDN, LDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And there’s a whole lot of nutrition packed into that low calorie count. Sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin C and potassium.
“Versatility and year-round availability can make sweet potatoes a weekly staple, not just a holiday tradition,” says Passerrello. One of the easiest ways to enjoy them is baked whole in the oven. Simply pierce the potato with a fork about six times and bake for about an hour at 400°F (until tender).
If you want to cut down on cooking time, sweet potatoes are also great cubed and roasted. Cubes can be drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, then roasted at 400°F for about 25 minutes. Olive oil is an especially good addition because it helps your body maximize the absorption of beta-carotene, says Passerrello.
Hungry for more? Try these quick and easy sweet potato recipes:
Sweet Potato Fries
Another easy way to work sweet potatoes into family meals is to julienne them into ¼ inch strips (or buy them precut at your grocery store). Toss the strips with salt, then spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet prepared with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Savory Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Roast cubed sweet potatoes (see instructions above). Once cooked, toss with chopped fresh cilantro and sprinkle with cardamom and salt and pepper to taste.
Sweet Potato Smoothie
Bake one sweet potato (see instructions above). Allow to cool slightly, then scoop the flesh into a blender. Add one frozen ripe banana, two cups of milk and half a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, and blend until smooth.