Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a  Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location. The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. E-mail her at

February is National Sweet Potato Month. Most people only eat sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving dinner or during the holiday season, but their nutrition content makes them important all year long. Sweet potatoes are a standout vegetable. When compared to the nutritional benefit of other vegetables, sweet potatoes score above the rest. Sweet potatoes are a top provider of vitamin A and beta- carotene. One cup of cooked sweet potatoes provides 30 mg of beta-carotene (Vitamin A). It would take 23 cups of broccoli to provide the same amount.

Sweet potatoes also score high for their fiber content. When eaten with the skin, they offer more fiber than oatmeal. Sweet potatoes also contain a significant amount of vitamin C and vitamin E. And to top it all off, they are virtually fat-free, cholesterol-free and low in sodium.

Sweet potatoes are an important part of a healthy diet and they add a flavorful punch to your average dinner. They go well with pork, beef, chicken, turkey or other meats. They can be baked, boiled, grilled, steamed, broiled or sautéed. The flavor of the sweet potato blends well with cinnamon, honey, coconut, nutmeg and lime. Sweet potatoes can be purchased fresh, canned or frozen. Often the canned potatoes are packed in heavy syrup or “candied”. Eat them alone or as part of a casserole, side dish, salad or dessert. Enjoy these vitamin and mineral powerhouses at your next meal.

Angus pot roast

Serves 10

All you need:

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

2 shallots, peeled and halved horizontally

1 (14.5 oz) can  beef broth

1 (2-1/2 to 3 lb)  Angus boneless chuck roast

5 fresh thyme sprigs

1 bay leaf

 salt and pepper, to taste

All you do:

1. Place onion, carrots, potatoes, shallots and broth in slow-cooker and stir to combine.

2. Place beef roast on top of vegetables; add thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

3. Cover and roast on LOW for 9 to 11 hours, or until meat is tender.

4. Remove meat and vegetables from slow-cooker and serve, discarding thyme sprigs and bay leaf.

Daily nutritional values:

120 percent vitamin A

10 percent vitamin C

4 percent calcium

25 percent iron

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories: 340

Carbohydrate: 9g

Cholesterol: 95mg

Dietary Fiber: 1g

Fat: 10g

Protein: 49g

Saturated Fat: 4g

Sodium: 110mg

Sugar: 4g

Trans fats: 0g