I was walking down Emek with my friend Aviva last Monday night when I saw what was probably the largest sweet potato I’ve ever seen. The thing was massive; at least the size of two average potatoes, maybe even closer to three.
I was so excited. Rephrase – I was too excited. But then again my friends are pretty used to me acting overly happy around healthy food (it’s weird, I know).
Naturally though, I immediately began to ponder what I would use the sweet potato for. I knew it would be getting a mention on the blog, irrelevant of whatever form it would end up in. There were so many choices though – should I make a sweet potato bake? What about a pureeing it into a soup to have for lunch the next day? Sweet potato chips? Sweet potato fries? I did always want to ask my mom for her paleo sweet potato pancake recipe… Maybe now would be a good time to do that?
As I contemplated my choices, I made sure to only buy one sweet potato even though I could have easily purchased three minimum (the struggles…).
On my way out, I thanked the owner of the supermarket, Zol Tov, for opening up the new fruit and vegetable section in what was formerly Cinnabon (the irony in that…) and then my sweet potato (and avocado, parsimmons, zucchinis, apples and bananas) went off on our very merry way, back to the TVA apartments.
Now you’re probably wondering what I did with this overly-raved-about sweet potato. You would think that my excitement would have culminated in baking something legit. I would probably want to make something which required a bit of effort, or possibly even something more labor intensive, right?
I did absolutely nothing with it.
When I got home from Emek, I quickly washed it off, wrapped it in foil, threw it in the oven at 205 degrees celcius, and (intentionally) forget about it for an hour and a half.
And guess what? It was delicious.
So what’s my point here exactly?
Well, besides for me trying to justify my laziness, this story proves that eating mindfully really can require a minimal amount of effort.
Of course you can prep more involved healthy treats to munch on throughout the week, but eating clean can also be as simple as sweet potatoes and setting ovens if you so chose it to be.
Let’s go through some of my meals from this past week:
- Warm sweet potato mixed with lentils, chickpeas and hummus
- A sunny side up egg on top of mashed sweet potato and avocado
- It was even delicious as a snack by itself! One day during lunch I heated up a frying pan with some olive oil, put some sweet potato on the pan, sprinkled over some cinnamon, and added a touch of sea salt. Simple and delicious 🙂
Nutritionally, my meals (and snack) this week gained so much from the 30 seconds of time it took to move the sweet potato from the oven to the table (and then later to the fridge).
See? Eating healthy really isn’t so hard.
Here are only some of the health benefits you get from eating sweet potatoes, taken from livescience.com:
- Did you know that, because of their magnesium content, sweet potatoes are great to eat when you’re stressed? Next time your Shabbos plans fall through try eating a sweet potato to de-stress 😉
- Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber which helps regulate your digestive tract
- It takes your body a long time to release the sugar present in sweet potatoes into your bloodstream, which means that sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index. Foods with low glycemic indexes help keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. Steady blood sugar levels will help keep your appetite stabilized, unlike foods high in processed sugar which will cause your body’s energy to spike and then crash soon afterwards, leaving you feeling even hungrier than you started out.
In English: eat sweet potatoes and other foods with low glycemic indexes to keep your appetite in check!
- Personally, my favorite thing about sweet potatoes are their beauty benefits, namely for skin and hair. Eating sweet potatoes can make your hair shinier and your skin smoother. The vitamins C and E present in sweet potatoes are to thank for this.
Lastly, here is a recipe for a sweet potato bake for those who want to put in a bit more effort 😉
A Healthy Sweet Potato Bake
Ingredients for base:
- 3-4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup almond (or skim) milk
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ingredients for topping:
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts (or both)
- Handful of oats
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit (175 celsius). Rub a rectangular tin with coconut oil.
- Fill a large pot 1/3 of the way full with water and allow it to reach a boil. Once the water boils, carefully add in the diced sweet potatoes with a large spoon and lower the flame. Cover the pot loosely with a lid and allow the sweet potatoes to sit for 25-30 minutes. They should be soft when poked with a fork.
- Remove the pot from the fire and drain the sweet potatoes.
- In a (non plastic) bowl, lightly mix the sweet potatoes with the ingredients for the base until everything is incorporated, taking care not to over-mix so the mixture won’t become too mushy.
- Transfer the sweet potato mixture to the tin. Spread out evenly.
- In a separate bowl mix the ingredients for the topping. You can add more flour if the mixture is too sticky.
- Drop the mixture (in small spoonfuls) on top of the sweet potato mixture. Sprinkle over some oats and top with cinnamon.
- Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes and enjoy throughout the week or for Shabbos 🙂