When baked plain and allowed to caramelize naturally, free of sugary toppings, sweet potatoes are a nutrition powerhouse. A medium-sized cooked sweet potato is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, a good source of fiber and only about 100 calories. Luckily, these rewarding roots are available year round. And where’s the nation’s sweet potato capital? That would be North Carolina, which produces nearly half of America’s supply.
Fiber plays an important role in maintaining weight by slowing down the digestion of food. The longer it takes your food to digest, the longer you’ll stay full and the less snacking you’ll do before your next meal. This slow digestion also makes sweet potatoes a low to medium glycemic food, so even diabetics can enjoy a touch of natural sweetness without causing blood sugar levels to spike.
Baking sweet potatoes with the skin on at a low 375° F for 35 minutes will produce a caramelized skin and a sweet fluffy center. But if you’re short on time, here are a few speedier cooking methods:
Sauté: Cook and stir sliced or diced sweet potatoes in hot oil for about 10 minutes.
Boil: Cook 1-inch thick slices in 2 inches of boiling water for about 12 minutes.
Speed-bake: Microwave whole sweet potatoes for four minutes; then bake at 450° F for five to 10 minutes.
The following recipe for guilt-free Sweet Potato Burgers is a great alternative to the typical high-calorie, all-meat burger. For a lighter alternative, skip the bun and place the patty over a bed of greens garnished with avocado slices and your favorite salad dressing.
For more sweet potato recipes and nutrition information, visit www.ncsweetpotatoes.com.
Sweet Potato Turkey Burgers
2 cups mashed sweet potato (about 1 pound)
1 package ground turkey (about 1¼ pound)
½ cup finely diced red onion
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cooking oil
In small pan over medium heat, heat cooking oil. Add onions; cook and stir until slightly soft, about one minute; set aside. In large bowl, mash together sweet potatoes, turkey, salt, cumin and reserved onion. Form eight 4- to 5-ounce patties. Heat oil in large pan and cook patties over medium heat until cooked through, about five minutes per side. Assemble burgers with your choice of toppings. Makes eight burgers.
Per serving: 161 calories, 18 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 3 g total fat (0.4 g saturated fat). Diabetic exchanges: 0.8 starch, 0.3 fat, 0.2 vegetable, 1.7 lean meat.
Source: North Carolina Sweet Potatoes Courtesy of Family Features