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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Is that a Sweet Potato or a Yam?

Unless you're a foodie like me, it's probably unlikely that your Thanksgiving dinner conversation entailed a hot debate of whether or not you were eating sweet potatoes or yams. "Why isn't it called a yam casserole?" asks my aunt. "Because it's made with sweet potatoes, not yams," I answered. "No, it's not; the label at the grocery store said yam," argued my aunt. "Yes, but it's a sweet potato, not a yam." The squabble was finally settled after the mention of one word: "google."

Yup. Those yams you thought you were buying were probably sweet potatoes. Yams and sweet potatoes are actually two very different plants that are not even related. Real yams are hard to find. They have a dark-colored, rough skin with a white, purple or reddish flesh. They're starchier than sweet potatoes and are very low in beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in our bodies.

Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, can have golden skin with white flesh or darker skin with orange flesh. The dark-skinned, orange flesh potatoes are sometimes labeled 'yams' in the grocery store to distinguish the two. However, the USDA requires labels with the term 'yam' to be accompanied by the term 'sweet potato.' Sweet potatoes are full of beta-carotene, fiber and potassium. In the end, call it what you want. Sweet potatoes are simply yummy and healthy!

Sweet Potato Grilled Cheese Sandwich Printable PDF


1 large sweet potato, peeled, sliced into thin rounds

½ Tablespoon olive oil

½ large onion, sliced

1 cup baby kale, stems removed, leaves torn into 1-inch pieces

4 slices mozzarella or white cheddar cheese

8 slices whole wheat bread

1 Tablespoon trans-fat free margarine

In a microwave-safe dish, microwave sweet potato rounds with 1 Tablespoon water, covered for 5-7 minutes or until fork tender; set aside. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet. Stir in onions and cook on medium-high heat 8-10 minutes or until caramelized; set aside. Spread margarine on one side of each slice of bread. For each sandwich, place bread, margarine-side down, on skillet; top with 1 slice of cheese, a fourth of the potatoes, a fourth of the kale, a fourth of the onions and 1 slice of bread, margarine-side up. Heat over medium heat 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutritional analysis per serving: 320 calories, 13 grams fat, 540 milligrams sodium, 35 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber, 15 grams protein