My favorite holiday food growing up was my mother’s sweet potatoes. The recipe had been passed down from my great-grandmother and unlike most family’s marshmallow-laden recipe, ours was studded with pecans and brown sugar. Often called yams, the dark orange fleshy tubers we enjoy every holiday (canned, marshmallow-laden or otherwise) are actually sweet potatoes.
These foods come into season November and December, but are available year round for our enjoyment. They are an ideal winter food – heavy and warming with a sweet taste that satisfies cravings that peak during dark months. Rich in beta-carotene, sweet potatoes give us the precursor to Vitamin A that is essential for night vision. They are a perfect example of how nature gives us the appropriate foods at the appropriate time of year.
Sweet Potatoes, despite their candy-like flavor (which is enhanced by roasting or broiling) are low in the glycemic index and do not cause the spike in blood sugar white baking potatoes can, making them a preferred food of bodybuilders, diabetics, and those following a low glycemic diet. They are rich in soluble fiber, B6 and potassium, all heart healthy compounds which protect against heart disease. The sweet potato is also rich in powerful antioxidants which protect against inflammation and certain cancers.
This wonderful whole food is a great way to get healthy, nutrient rich carbohydrates that will not adversely affect your blood sugar or weight. For the next few months, replace steak fries with baked sweet potato fries and white rice or mashed Russets with mashed sweet potatoes. Enjoy them in savory and sweet dishes!
Below is a recipe for Sweet Potato Fries. I encourage you to give them a try for dinner one night. If you have a favorite sweet potato recipe you’d like to share, I’d love to see it!
Sweet Potato Fries
- 6 Sweet Potatoes, cut like steak fries
- 2 tbsp. Coconut Oil, warmed, or grapeseed, sesame, or peanut oil (these do well under higher heat)
- 2 tsp. sea salt
- 3 TB. Mexican seasoning, Cajun seasoning, or spices of choice
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees (220 degrees Celsius). In a mixing bowl, toss sweet potatoes with oil and spices. Place potato wedges evenly on a baking sheet with enough space between each wedge to allow them to get crispy. Bake for 10-30 minutes (depending on size), flipping the over halfway through to brown all sides. When finished, they should be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
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