Fast, healthy meals are like math. Base (grain or starch) + vegetables + protein + seasonings = a balanced, tasty meal. Even the FDA’s My Plate is a piechart! And despite my dark mathematical past, I’ve got this formula down pat. Because preparedness is ananswer to the problem of staying healthy throughout a hectic week, consider cooking once and eating twice your solution. Get it?! Hehe
Before we dive into the recipes, let’s get down to sweet potato basics. While searching through the pile of potatoes, look for ones with minimal spots, gashes, etc. In addition, select ones that are around the same size. This makes baking easier since they will all have the same cook-time. And if you have the choice…
Buy ‘em organic! Sweet spuds are on the Dirty Dozen list as a highly chemical-sprayed food. If you need further convincing to shell out the extra 60 cents, check out this girl’s science project video. This is also important because you should…
Eat the skin! There is a ton of nutrition loaded in the skin along with fiber that keeps you full. It also prevents blood sugar spikes by slowing down the entrance of glucose into your bloodstream. Eating the whole food in place of just part is a best practice in general. Think rice; brown is better because it’s the whole grain, and white is the grain stripped of it’s germ- aka nutritional rip off!
Cleaning & baking basics:
-Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
-Scrub well and dig out any dodgy spots with the end of a peeler or knife. I usually slice the tips off too.
-Give them some deep pokes with a fork
-Place in a baking dish, on a cookie sheet, or straight up on the oven racks. I personally place them on the racks and slide a piece of foil on the rack below to catch any droppings.
-Bake for 45 min then check them by sticking with a fork. Depending on size and your preference of consistency, take out or leave in for 15 min intervals, checking as-needed.
So how can you eat thee? Let me count the ways..
1.) My all time fave… the stuffed sweet pot! Load ‘em up with veggies and vary flavor profiles for endless possibilities. From left to right: colorful cabbage, carrots, and kale with garlic, ginger and bragg liquid aminos (GF soy sauce alternative), spicy black beans, broccoli, & feta, and spinach, mushroom, and onion! Get creative!
2.) Sliced and sautéed 2 ways: the left picture is a sweet version that was browned in a little REAL butter, drizzled with honey, and sprinkled with cinnamon. The other an easy home-fry alternative to your breakfast plate!
3.) Keep it naked as a compliment to a lighter meal or true on-the-go style by eating the whole potato as is! Wrap it up and throw it in your bag for a satisfying snack any time!
4.) Chopped up and added to greens! On the right it’s a warm dish with kale, and on the left it’s added to a hearty salad! Sweet potatoes add color which means added nutrients. Strive for as many colors as possible to get a wide spectrum of nutrition at every meal!
If you follow me on social media, you well know by now that sweet potatoes are a mainstay in my diet. Even though they are on their way out seasonally, we did just have a frost here in NYC so I’m hoping they’re still relative… at least for a little longer. I encourage you to bake a few and see how you can use them throughout the week when you’re short on time and in need of a healthy meal!