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How Sweet It Is
Keep sweet potatoes on the
menu this season and all year
By Fran Werner

Although sweet potatoes are usually thought of as part of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday meal traditions, be sure to add these wonderful naturally sweet vegetables to your meals throughout the year; they are some of the most nutritious vegetables of all. Sweet potatoes can be found in your grocery store year-round, although their peak season is November through December.

Sweet potatoes are very high in vitamin A, containing almost 300% of your daily value, they contain over 25% of the daily value for vitamin C and manganese, and over 10% of the daily value of copper, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. In addition, they provide about 3 grams of fiber. All for under 100 calories for a 3-oz. potato.

The nutritional benefits go far beyond this, though. They also help stabilize blood sugar and lower insulin resistance; they’re considered an “anti-diabetic” food and they have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Lightened Sweet Potato Casserole
(from Cooking Light magazine):

Potatoes:
2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 Cup half and half
3/4 Cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Topping:
1 1/2 Cups mini marshmallows
1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
1/4 Cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 Cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 375°. Place potatoes in a large pot or Dutch oven, and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until very tender. Drain, and cool slightly.

Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add half and half, brown sugar salt and vanilla. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, beat well (don’t worry if mixture’s thin). Scrape mixture into a 13” x 9” baking dish coated with cooking spray.

To prepare topping, sprinkle marshmallows over top of casserole. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in pecans and sprinkle over potato mixture and marshmallows.

Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Yields 16 servings. Nutrition per serving: 193 cals., 6 gm. fat, 3 gm. protein, 31 gm. carb., 2 gm. fiber, 38 mg. cholesterol, 235 mg. sodium.

Quick Serving Ideas

• Purée cooked sweet potatoes with bananas, maple syrup and cinnamon. Top with chopped walnuts.

• Steam cubed sweet potatoes, tofu and broccoli. Mix in raisins and serve hot or cold with a curried vinaigrette dressing.

• Desserts made with sweet potatoes - sweet potato pie, bread, muffins or pudding.

• Baked sweet potatoes are delicious hot or cold, making them a great food to pack in to-go lunches.

• Add them to stews in addition to, or in place of, white potatoes.

Fran Werner is a certified Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant, a Certified Personal Trainer, and a certified Lifestyle Coach, specializing in weight management. She has been the owner/director of Lifestyle Consulting since 1981, and has maintained an office in Austin since 1993. Fran has helped thousands of individuals achieve and maintain healthy weights and healthy lifestyles. You can contact her at (512) 794-3848, or at fran@lifestyleconsulting.com. Visit her Web site, www.lifestyleconsulting.com.

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