If you've been missing potatoes or just want a few fun ideas to refresh the diet, try some of these recipes involving sweet potatoes.
While high in carbs, about 25 grams for a small five-ounce baked sweet potato, they are fortunately lower-glycemic index carbs and thus, have less impact on the blood sugar levels of non-diabetics. Plus, look at that color! Most brightly colored foods are loaded with anti-oxidants. Orange veggies and fruit in particular have vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin C and manganese, copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. These nutrients also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Healthier Tuna Salad. Kiss the fattening mayo goodbye - you won't miss it with this sweet/salty/spicy full-flavor twist. Drain only half the water from one six-ounce can white/albacore tuna. Mix it with one small baked sweet potato (without skin), add fresh grated pepper, a few tablespoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce. Enjoy this tuna salad over green salad topped with slivered almonds, with veggies in a low carb or whole wheat tortilla.
Sweet P. Snack. When "the cupboard was bare," I discovered the perfect natural pre-workout snack. No lab isolate in this fitness bar! Bake or microwave a small sweet potato. Slice and dip in 2 tbsp peanut or even better, almond butter to satisfy a sweet craving or 2tbsp hummus if seeking salty. Either spread provides the complex carbs to start and protein to stay with you but not bomb your workout.
Sweet Potato Fries. Easy to prep for yourself or for a party, even the biggest junk-foodie will enjoy this salty snack, which is far lower in fat and sodium than traditional fries. Preheat oven to 400. Wash 2 large or 5 small sweet potatoes (about 1.5lbs) and cut each in half lengthwise, then each half into 6 wedges. Combine ½ tsp ground cumin, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp ground red pepper in small bowl and set aside. In large bowl, combine potato slices, oil, and spice mixture. (For extra spicy fries, add 1tsp sriracha sauce). Toss until potatos are evenly coated. Place fries on baking sheet in a single layer. Bake on middle shelf until edges are crisp and potatoes are cooked through (approximately 30 minutes). You can serve w/ low-sodium mustard and/or ketchup, (add 1tsp sriracha sauce for spiciness) or other dipping sauces low in fat and sodium.
Cocoa Mousse. I guarantee this cocoa version guiltlessly assassinates any sweet tooth and even gets a sneaks a little protein in too! Bake or microwave 2-3 small sweet potatoes, then blend them in food processor with 1/2 cup skim milk or unsweetened soy milk, 1/4 cocoa powder, 1 tbsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp cinnamon (being reported w/ anti-cancer bennies) and 1 tbsp ginger (the wet stuff in jar or fresh grated root are much better in everything than the crappy powder). Eat immediately or store in refrigerator for up to five days.
Whitney M. Cole, Certified Personal Trainer, Pilates Practitioner and Nutrition Counselor, www.whitneymcole.com