SOURCE: North Carolina Sweet Potatoes

December 27, 2010 05:00 ET

Eat Your Sweets & Get Slim Too

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - December 27, 2010) - (Family Features) Weight loss is perennially one of the top New Year's resolutions amongst Americans, but achieving this goal can be difficult when faced with strict diets and bland food. The key to weight loss is enjoying healthful meals that are tasty and sustaining. This can be an easy feat when eating nutrient dense foods like sweet potatoes.

When baked plain and allowed to caramelize naturally without the sugary toppings we're accustomed to, sweet potatoes are a nutrition powerhouse. A medium-sized cooked sweet potato is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, a good source of fiber and only about 100 calories. Luckily, these rewarding roots are available year round with North Carolina producing nearly half of the country's supply.

Fiber plays an important role in maintaining weight by slowing down the digestion of food. The longer it takes your food to digest, the longer you'll stay full and the less snacking you'll do before your next meal. This slow digestion also makes sweet potatoes a low to medium glycemic food, so even those with diabetes can enjoy a touch of natural sweetness without causing blood sugar levels to spike.

Baking sweet potatoes with the skin on at a low 375°F for 35 minutes will produce a caramelized skin with a sweet fluffy center, but if you're short on time here are a few speedier cooking methods:

  • Sauté: cook and stir sliced or diced sweet potatoes in hot oil for about 10 minutes
  • Boil: cook 1-inch thick slices in 2 inches of boiling water for about 12 minutes
  • Speed-bake: cook whole sweet potatoes in microwave for 4 minutes, then bake at 450°F for 5 to 10 minutes

This recipe for guilt-free Sweet Potato Burgers is a great alternative to the typical high calorie all meat burger. For a lighter alternative, skip the bun and place the patty over a bed of greens with avocado slices and your favorite salad dressing.

For more sweet potato recipes and nutrition information, visit www.ncsweetpotatoes.com or www.sweetbytesblog.blogspot.com.

Sweet Potato Turkey Burgers
Recipe adapted from The Bicycle Chef blog by Laura Curtis

2 cups mashed sweet potato (about 1 pound)
1 package ground turkey (about 1-1/4 pound)
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  Oil for sautéing

In small pan over medium heat, heat 1 teaspoon oil. Add onions; cook and stir until slightly soft, about 1 minute; set aside. In large bowl, mash together sweet potatoes, turkey, salt, cumin and reserved onion. Form eight 4- to 5-ounce patties. In large pan over medium heat, heat oil; cook until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Assemble burgers with your choice of toppings.
Yield: 8 burgers

Per serving: 161 cal., 18 g protein, 16 g carb., 2 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 3 g total fat (0.4 g sat. fat) Diabetic exchanges: 0.8 starch, 0.3 fat, 0.2 vegetable, 1.7 lean meat

Photo Courtesy of Laura Curtis