While I try to avoid microwave meals, an exception I'll gladly make is for a zapped sweet potato. One of my much-loved speedy, thrifty, and healthy snacks is to poke a sweet potato and throw it in the micro for a few minutes. When my steaming tater emerges, I top it with a bit of salt, pepper, and chili powder and dive in. It's my favorite belly- and heart-warming nibble. (I'm getting hungry just writing about it…)
Sweet potatoes are nutritional powerhouses. Not only are they rich in the good kind of carbs (the complex ones), they're also packed with dietary fiber, especially when the skin is left on. They also have high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin C and B6. Beta-carotene is a key source of the antioxidant packed vitamin A, a necessary nutrient for our skin, eyes, bones, and digestion.
Unlike other simple carbs like white potatoes, rice and bread, sweet potatoes are a great choice for diabetics due to their relatively low levels of sugar. A whole baked sweet potato is very low in saturated fat, free of cholesterol and a mere 130 calories, depending on its size.
Next time you're craving some delicious, starchy carbs, instead of heading for a bag of Ruffles, give your heart (and love handles) a break, and cook up a sweet potato.
A sneak peek at my two favorite ways to cook these babies up:
Sweet Potato Microwave-Style
1 sweet potato
Salt, pepper, red chili powder
Butter or margarine (optional)
Wash sweet potato and puncture multiple times with a fork. Wrap in wet paper towel and cook on high for 4–5 minutes. Rotate halfway through cooking. Cut down the middle and garnish with salt, pepper, red chili powder, and butter.
*Make your tater extra sweet by garnishing it with cinnamon, sugar or Splenda, and a pat of butter.
Quick and Easy Sweet Potato Fries
2 sweet potatoes; cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray.
Spread the sweet potato strips out onto the baking sheet and evenly coat with olive oil and salt.
Bake for 30 minutes or until crisp, turning once minutes with spatula.