Sweet Potatoes Are a Naturally Sweet Addition to Holiday Dinners

Sweet potatoes have almost twice the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A, 42 percent of the RDA for vitamin C, and four times the RDA for beta carotene. When eaten with the skin on, sweet potatoes have more fiber than oatmeal. They carry a reasonable 130 to 160 calories. Among root vegetables, sweet potatoes offer the lowest glycemic index rating.  That’s because sweet potatoes digest slowly, causing a gradual rise in blood sugar so people feel satisfied longer. 

When preparing sweet potatoes, replace the butter, marshmallow, and brown sugar with healthy choices. Play with your food, be creative, and try some new takes on old favorites. Top a baked sweet potato with pineapple tidbits for a fruity difference. Slice a sweet potato into thin wedges, bake and dust with cinnamon for French fries that are not deep-fried. Use sweet potatoes in unique and different ways, such as in a frittata (see below for recipe).

Here’s some timely trivia: The sweet potato, native to Central America, is not a yam. While the two are both flowering plants, they are related to different plant groups. There are over 400 varieties of sweet potatoes in shades of white, yellow, red, purple and brown.  While sweet potatoes are in season in November and December, they are widely available year-round in supermarkets.

TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization, is celebrating 60 years of weight-loss support and success in 2008. Founded and headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., TOPS promotes successful weight loss and weight management with a philosophy that combines healthy eating, regular exercise, wellness education, and support from others at weekly chapter meetings.

TOPS has nearly 180,000 members in almost 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada, and several chapters in Europe. Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. To find a meeting, view www.tops.org or call (800) 932-8677 for more information.

The following recipe is a unique way to enjoy sweet potatoes for brunch, lunch, or anytime.


1 medium sweet potato

1 sweet, mild onion such as Vidalia

1 green bell pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 cup sliced, julienned ham

6 eggs

Pepper to taste

Peel sweet potato; cut into 1/4-inch cubes. Blanch sweet potato cubes in boiling, unsalted water until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Chop onion and green pepper. Heat oil in omelet pan. Sauté onion and green pepper until tender, about 2 minutes.

Stir in cooked sweet potatoes and ham. Sauté 1 minute.

Beat eggs and season with pepper. Put eggs into omelet pan with vegetables and stir with a fork. Cover pan and cook about 3 minutes to set egg.

Uncover and place pan under hot broiler until top of frittata is firm, about 1 minute.

Loosen with a rubber spatula and slide onto serving plate. Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes 4 servings.