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 treasure troves of vitamins and minerals with your next meal.

 A plain oven- or microwave-baked sweet potato, cut open and sprinkled with a little cinnamon/sugar mixture, is a quick and delicious addition to meals.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and

caramelized onion burritos

The caramelized onion with the sweet potatoes takes on a superb flavor with the black beans adding a Southern touch.


2 cups thinly sliced red onion

2 tsp. sugar

3 cups fresh sweet potatoes baked and cut into chunks or 2 (15oz.) cans sweet potatoes, drained and cut into chunks

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained

8 (6 inch) flour tortillas

3 tbsp. light margarine, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium high heat. Add onion and sugar; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes or until onion is caramelized or deep golden brown.

Remove from heat and stir in sweet potatoes, cumin and black beans, mixing gently. Spoon mixture evenly down center of each tortilla.

Roll up tortillas jelly roll style and place rolls seam side down in an oblong casserole dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Drizzle melted margarine over burritos. Cover and bake 10 to 15 minutes or until well heated and crispy on outside. Makes 8 burritos.


Per serving: Calories 194; Fat 5 g; Protein 6 g; Carbohydrates 31 g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 353mg

Source: Created by Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission spokesperson, Holly Clegg.