The Surprisingly Salubrious Sweet Potato

By Tara Griffith, Dietetic Student at the University of Maryland

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and if you’re a foodie like me, I know your mouths are watering just thinking about the delicious array of food you’ll be diving into this holiday season.

It seems that the talk of holiday food being unhealthy and “fattening” seems to come up every year during this time. But, with a little knowledge and conscious decision-making, you can still enjoy all of your favorite foods.

One nutritious food in particular that seems to be drowned in sugar and fat every year is the sweet potato.

Terps can buy sweet potatoes right on campus at The Farmers Market at Maryland.

Yes, I know the common canned yams smothered in brown sugar and butter and buried under marshmallows is quite pleasing to the taste buds. But with a few recipe modifications, you can make a healthier dish and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the taste (see below)!

First, some fun facts about the sweet potato:

  • Sweet potatoes are fat-free and cholesterol-free.
  • Sweet potatoes are a good source of Vitamins A and C and Potassium.
  • To add some fiber to your diet, eat sweet potatoes with the skin.
  • Yams are not actually the same thing as sweet potatoes, but because of their similarities, the name “yam” has been adopted to describe sweet potatoes.

One of my favorite sweet potato recipes involves the use of apples, pecans and cinnamon, instead of marshmallows, brown sugar and butter. This recipe is a great way to add a serving of fruit with the apples, add some protein and healthy fats with the nuts, and reduce the amount of refined sugar and saturated fat. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole with Pecans

What you’ll need:

  •  2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 medium apples
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey


  1. Boil sweet potatoes for about 20 minutes or until slightly cooked but still firm. Let sweet potatoes cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Cut up apples and previously boiled sweet potatoes into cubes about the size of a quarter.
  4. Mix them together with cinnamon, olive oil and honey in a large bowl.
  5. Empty contents into a casserole dish and bake covered for 40 minutes.
  6. Take out of the oven and mix.
  7. Top with chopped pecans and bake uncovered for an additional 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes and apples are both tender.

Serves 3-4.

Try some of these other tasty sweet potato recipes I came across:

What are some tasty ways you eat your sweet potatoes during the holiday season?

This entry was posted in Nutrition, The Farmers Market at Maryland and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Surprisingly Salubrious Sweet Potato

  1. Anonymous says:

    I am making this recipe today!

  2. Kate says:

    That casserole sounds good!! Especially as it gets colder, I really like making soups with sweet potatoes. My favorite is a pureed sweet potato soup with black beans and cumin.

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