Sweet poatoes are healthy and tasty

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Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Bates County, University of Missouri Extension

It’s that time of year when many people are harvesting their sweet potatoes. As you dig those tasty roots from the ground, it’s hard not to think of that special sweet potato casserole that is a fall favorite. Not only do sweet potatoes taste great, they are healthful as well.

According to Encyclopedia of Foods: A Guide to Healthy Nutrition, three fourths of a cup of baked sweet potato contains 155 calories, 5 grams of fiber, 36 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of protein and no fat. They provide a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium.

When choosing a sweet potato, you want the skin to be a bright uniform color and firm to the touch. Sweet potatoes and yams look alike but they are not related. Yams are blander than the sweet potato. Unlike the sweet potato, yams do not contain vitamin A, but they are a good source of vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Yams can be stored, prepared and used in the same ways that sweet potatoes are used.

Sweet potatoes are very versatile. They can be baked in an oven or microwave like other potatoes. They can also be boiled but it is recommended that the skin be left on while boiling and easily removed after boiling. Mashed sweet potatoes can be substituted for pureed pumpkin in muffin, cake and cookie recipes. They also taste great added to casseroles, soups and stews.

For information on how to cure sweet potatoes once they’re harvested (if you grow your own), check out the full version of this article at http://missourifamilies.org/features/nutritionarticles/nut157.htm

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