Did you know that this week is ‘International Sweet Potato Week’ or ‘ISPW’ for short? I LOVE sweet potatoes, (and buy them weekly in my food shop!), which is why I was delighted to hear that from the 21st to the 31st of March they are being celebrated!
Led by the American Sweet Potato Marketing Institute, ISPW is an exciting initiative aiming to inspire everyone to get creative in the kitchen and celebrate all things to do with sweet potato. You can buy sweet potatoes cheaply from most major supermarkets and you may be interested to know that the majority of our sweet potatoes are actually grown in America.
5 A DAY
You’ll also be pleased to hear that sweet potatoes, unlike regular potatoes, count towards one of your 5 a day. Specifically, they are rich in:
- Vitamin A – essential for our immune system and skin health. The vitamin A found in sweet potato is called beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body when needed; just 1 small potato provides the recommend daily amount that we need.
- Vitamin C – an important antioxidant needed to keep us healthy. Vitamin C helps to reduce the duration of a cold.
- Manganese – vital for initiating the digestion of food.
- Copper – helps your body to make red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body.
- Potassium – essential for a healthy heart beat and blood pressure.
- Fibre – needed for optimum gut function. A medium sized potato contains around 13% of our daily fibre need.
The popularity of sweet potatoes has grown in recent years, possibly thanks to the rise in ‘plant-based diets’; in the UK alone almost 30% of shoppers have reduced their meat intake over the past year. Eating a plant-based diet means ‘putting plants first’; so instead of planning meals around meat, you plan them around plants.
In a plant based diet, bringing vegetables, fruits, whole grains, pulses, legumes, nuts & seeds from the side of the plate to front and centre is recommended: American sweet potatoes make the ideal base for any plant-based meal as they are super versatile; they can be used in curries, Buddha Bowls, fish pie, simple lunches and salads to name just a few.
Plant-based eating makes sense for all of us as plant-based foods are good for us; they’re high in fibre, contain unsaturated fats and are packed with vitamins and minerals. Eating more plants is good for the planet too – think less land, less water and less CO2 use-age; each person who puts plants first for a day will save 1,500 litres of water and reduce their carbon footprint by 2Kg.
SWEET-POTATO MEAL IDEAS
American sweet potatoes are super versatile and can be used in both sweet or savoury recipes; they are ideal for breakfast right through to dinner. Here are five super simple ways that you can use American sweet potatoes at home:
- 1) Go Meat Free – it’s not just for Mondays
American sweet potatoes are a tasty addition in a whole host of recipes that traditionally contain meat – try adding roasted chunks of sweet potato to vegetarian curries and stir frys, add them to stews, soups and casseroles, or why not try them in a veggie chilli – you won’t be disappointed!
- 2) Sweet Potato Pancakes
American sweet potatoes are a delicious addition to waffles and pancakes – simply bake, peel, puree and add to your batter. Perfect with both sweet or savoury toppings, try piling on sliced avocado and roasted vine tomatoes, spooning over mixed berries, or add a poached egg for a breakfast to impress.
- 3) Spiralize those Spuds
Try spirallized sweet potato or ‘swaghetti/spoodles’ with your meat-free bolognese for a tasty twist. You could also mix in halved cherry tomatoes, spinach and pesto for an additional nutrient boost.
- 4) Swap your Regular Old White Potatoes for Sweet Potatoes
Baked, mashed, wedges, chips, fries – make your potatoey side pack a nutritional (and flavour!) punch with this couldn’t-be-easier ingredient swap. Sweet potatoes also have a lower glycaemic index then regular potatoes meaning that they release their energy more slowly.
- 5) Get your Bake on
With a sweet, satisfying flavour, and super squidgy texture, American sweet potatoes are ideal for baking too – add sweet potato puree to brownies for an extra gooey bite, use in cupcakes, or rustle up a traditional sweet potato pie.
Do you eat sweet potatoes? If so, what’s your favourite way to eat them?
For more information as well as recipe inspiration, check out the official American Sweet Potato website!
*This blog post was written in collaboration with the American Sweet Potato Marketing Institute. All words are my own. I genuinely love sweet potatoes which is why I chose to work with them. Please read my disclaimer page for more information about collaborations.