Looking for a vegetable that’s versatile, delicious AND healthy?
You can’t go wrong with the sweet potato; a starchy root veg which is part of the morning glory family and a distant cousin of the standard potato. You’ll find they come in a variety of colours, although orange sweet potatoes are by far the most common in the UK1.
Are sweet potatoes good for you?
Yes! Unlike regular spuds, sweet potatoes are classified as a vegetable and count towards your five a day. They’re also packed with a range of nutrients which will massively benefit your body, including:2
Fibre – sweet potatoes are a rich source of soluble and insoluble fibre, both of which are needed by the gut to ensure healthy digestion.
Beta carotene – this is the orange pigment found in vegetables such as carrots and orange sweet potatoes. It’s a fantastic nutrient for our bodies as it’s absorbed and transformed into vitamin A which supports our vision and immune system.
Antioxidants – purple and orange sweet potatoes are especially high in antioxidants. These are substance which help protect your cells from damage by harmful free radicals. Anthocyanin – a type of antioxidant – is found in large amounts in purple sweet potatoes and thought to help boost brain function.
Healthy ways to eat sweet potatoes
If you’re keen to add this nutritious vegetable into your meal rotations, there are numerous ways to cook it. Just like regular potatoes, sweet potatoes can be boiled, baked, grilled or fried as part of a main dish or as a delicious side. Here are five healthy ways to prep and enjoy sweet potatoes:3
- Boil and mash them for a pie topping
Fan of cottage or shepherd’s pie? Why not make a veggie version using sweet potato mash as the topping? You could then substitute meat for our soya protein mince or whip up a protein-packed pie using red lentils.
- Chop into chunks and bake
If you love ordering up sweet potato fries when you eat out, why not recreate them at home? Simply wash your sweet potatoes, slice them up (you could also peel them if you don’t like the skin), toss them in a little coconut or avocado oil and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes. For an extra burst of flavour, season with some cumin, paprika or salt and pepper.
- Bake whole and load up with healthy fillings
For a healthy lunch or dinner, try baking your sweet potatoes whole and then filling them with healthy ingredients like leftover vegetable chilli, spicy daal or a dollop of tasty hummus?
- Dice into cubes as a salad topping
Hoping to liven up your summer salads? Cubed sweet potatoes which have been boiled or baked and then tossed in spices make a mouthwatering addition to a salad. You could also use them to make a sweet potato salad using some finely chopped onion or chives and mayonnaise.
- Add into pancakes
For a sweet treat in the mornings, have a go at adapting a classic pancake mixture to include sweet potatoes. Substitute flour for mashed sweet potato and then mix about 125g with two eggs and your choice of spices (cinnamon is always a winner). Fry in coconut oil for an even tastier finish.4
Last updated: 6 May 2020