Happy belated Memorial Day! And thanks to everyone who has or is currently serving! It was a much needed three day weekend around our house. It seems like every weekend we have had lately has revolved around work. It was time to switch things up and take a much needed break, relax and enjoy the weekend as a family of four. We thought we would take the girls to the zoo before we become outnumbered in a few short weeks. It was the perfect day to be outside taking in all of the sights. The girls got to feed the giraffes some greens, which was a great lesson to my oldest on how animals like to be healthy too. I always try to sneak those lessons in. Needless to say, those four leaves of lettuce we fed that thing were the most expensive produce I’ve ever purchased. At least it goes to a good cause and they were actually feeding it something healthy. We also had a scavenger hunt for our oldest and some much needed pool time. It is finally feeling like summer days around here! With all of those activities the girls were exhausted. We barely survived the trip home from the zoo as our littlest has decided to declare war on her car seat and throw an all-out temper tantrum on the way home. The long drive ended up even longer when we had a screaming child and another one who is trying to sleep. Addie has officially lost all privileges to travel more than 30 minutes in the car.
With all of that we had some quick meals and not a lot of time to prep for the upcoming week. I did manage to prep one thing, sweet potatoes. If all else fails we at least have somewhat of a backup plan. I think I have found the easiest way to prepare a sweet potato that makes them so much easier to utilize when you are in a hurry. Plus, are they not like the hardest things ever to peel and cut? With this method, you can literally peel them with your fingers and slice them however you would like and you never have to worry about them getting done. Perfect in a pinch.
Once they are done, store them whole in the refrigerator and use them for any preparation you would like; mashed, roasted, sautéed, fries, grilled. We already used them last night for an asparagus and sweet potato skillet topped with fried eggs. Here are some other ideas;
Savory Chicken and Green Bean Salad
And just to add a little excitement to this post. How about a little nutrition background into sweet potatoes?
There is much controversy in the nutrition world on potatoes in general. Many people tend to look at the macronutrient ratio as the set standard on whether to consume it or not. And by macronutrient ratio that is how much protein, carbohydrates and fats it contains. Potatoes get a bad rap for the fact that they are a starchy vegetable or high in carbohydrates. While this is true, sweet potatoes in general have a lot of essential nutrients, regardless of the carbohydrate ratio, the quality is still good. To be honest, it is a real food, grown from the earth, unprocessed and thus a winner in my book. Sure, I wouldn’t recommend people get carried away with the consumption and override the fact that non-starchy vegetables have A LOT of great properties as well.
Research has found that sweet potatoes contain a great deal of antioxidants in the orange-hued carotenoid pigments (1). Anthocyanin and other color-related pigments in sweet potato are equally valuable for their anti-inflammatory health benefits something we all want to strive for.
The most exciting research pinpoints the blood sugar issue. Recent research has shown that extracts from sweet potatoes can significantly increase blood levels of adiponectin in persons with type 2 diabetes. Adiponectin is a protein hormone produced by our fat cells, and it serves as an important mediator of insulin metabolism. One with poorly-regulated insulin metabolism and insulin insensitivity tend to have lower levels of adiponectin, and persons with healthier insulin metabolism tend to have higher levels (2). The initial results show that sweet potatoes can actually help regulate blood sugar, especially if steamed or boiled (hence why I love to boil these babies).
Before you indulge there is some evidence that sweet potatoes can have a negative impact on ones thyroid (especially if you already have pre-existing thyroid conditions). Sweet potatoes contain goitrogens which limit the usage/availability of the essential nutrient iodine in the thyroid. Now most specialists would agree that as long as you have sufficient iodine and eat cooked goitrogenic foods (such as sweet potatoes) in moderation you will be fine. The cooking process (especially boiling or steaming) reduces the effects of the goitrogens. Lucky for sweet potatoes you would probably never eat them raw anyways, and never eat the skin as this is where the majority of the goitrogens lie.
But if you have a thyroid issue, you should probably consult with a Physician or Nutritionist more about a diet plan to help beat your condition. As it isn’t just about eliminating goitrogenic foods or having the appropriate amount of iodine. Selenium comes into the picture along with sleep, stress, phytic acids, etc. It’s a complicated issue but one you shouldn’t fear. If you have or think you have a thyroid issue I would love to walk you through a journey of healing.
On a final note, don’t fear the potato, but don’t go crazy either. Enjoy it when you eat it!
- 4-6 Medium Sweet Potatoes
- Dash of Salt
- Wash sweet potatoes and place in stock pot.
- Cover with water and add a dash of salt.
- Boil for 15-30 minutes or until just fork tender. Careful not to overboil as they will become soft and mushy.