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Sweet Potatoes are for More than Thanksgiving
November 17, 2016
ST. CHARLES, Ill. – Although sweet potatoes are an important part of our holiday meals, this orange vegetable provides a versatile option for any breakfast, lunch or dinner.
“Sweet potatoes are naturally fat-free, low in sodium and a good source of vitamins A, C, potassium and fiber,” said University of Illinois Extension Educator Jessica Gadomski, a registered dietician for SNAP-Education. “This edible root, often confused with yams, deserves more than just a place at your Thanksgiving table.”
Sweet potatoes, currently in-season here in Illinois, make a healthier substitute for white potatoes in most recipes. They can be baked, boiled, grilled, mashed, roasted, steamed, or even microwaved. They can be eaten raw too.
According to MyPlate, the current dietary guidance provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, we should strive to make half our plate fruits and vegetables.
“We are encouraged to consume a variety of vegetables in all forms – raw, cooked, fresh, frozen, canned, dried/dehydrated or 100 percent juice,” said Gadomski.
“Furthermore, vegetables are classified into five subgroups based on their nutrient content: dark-green vegetables, starchy vegetables, red and orange vegetables, beans and peas and other vegetables.”
The USDA recommends children between the ages of 2-8 years consume 2.5 to 3 cups of red-orange vegetables each week, and those age 9 and older should strive for between 4 to 6 cups per week.
“Whether prepared as snacks, side dishes or the main event, sweet potatoes are a healthy, tasty choice any time of year,” said Gadomski. “Looking for inspiration? Recipes for sweet potatoes can be found online at Extension’s Illinois Nutrition Education Program healthy recipe section.”
Visit web.extension.illinois.edu/INEP/recipes-new and look for ideas including:
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Roasted Root Vegetables
- Sweet Potato Custard
- Baked Tiger Fries
The healthy choice, isn’t always the easy choice, especially on a limited budget. The Illinois Nutrition Education Programs and SNAP-Education provide practical tips to help low-income families prepare safe and healthy meals, while staying active each day. For recipes and ideas, visit web.extension.illinois.edu/INEP/recipes-new.
For more information on University of Illinois Extension programs and services in your county, visit web.extension.illinois.edu/dkk/. University of Illinois Extension provides educational programs and research-based information to help Illinois residents improve their quality of life, develop skills and solve problems.
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Source: Jessica Gadomski, Extension Educator, SNAP-Ed, firstname.lastname@example.org