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Be Smart, Eat Well, Get Healthy

Not so sweet potatoes

sweet potatoes on cutting board

I have a confession. I never liked sweet potatoes. The thought of the sticky sweet marshmallow goo left me feeling a bit nauseous….now, don’t get me wrong. I respect tradition and have always made room on my holiday table for the required side dish. But it was all obligation until…..I discovered savory sweet potatoes.

So, let’s talk tubers. Sweet potatoes or yams? Is there a difference? Technically, the USDA allows both products to be labeled as sweet potatoes, but they are distinct. Yams, from the African word nyami, (to eat), are tubers with rough, scaly skin, and very lightly colored flesh, while sweet potato roots, (south American origin) have smooth skin with flesh ranging from orange to purple or white. You will find sweet potatoes most often in grocery stores.

Why eat them? Because they are a powerhouse of good nutrition! They are fat free, high in vitamins C and A, a good source of calcium and potassium, and an excellent source of fiber. You cannot beat that at 100 calories per 3.5 ounces!

How do I prepare them?

  • Preheat oven to 425°
  • Place parchment paper or tinfoil on rimmed baking sheet
  • Wash and dice sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes
  • Toss with a small amount of olive oil
  • Spread in an even layer on baking sheet
  • Sprinkle with seasoning (garlic, pepper, herbs) to taste
  • Bake 30-40 minutes, or until desired texture (chewy to crisp)
  • Serve as a side dish, add to salads or eat as a snack!


Mississippi State Extension

North Dakota State University Extension, Prairie Fire