All About Sweet Potatoes

November 18, 2014

This November, celebrate National Sweet Potato Awareness Month by learning the difference between sweet potatoes and yams, embracing the benefits of sweet potatoes, and indulging in as many sweet potato recipes as you can eat! 

This post was written by Nutritioulicious contributor Tiana Yom, MPH, CHES 

In addition to National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, November is

National Sweet Potato Awareness Month

Don’t confuse this celebration with National Sweet Potato Month, which is in February and celebrates the nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes. Rather, the focus of National Sweet Potato Awareness Month is to inform people of the difference between sweet potatoes and yams. Although often used interchangeably, they are not the same!

sweet potato awareness
Photo Credit: North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission

The sweet potatoes you commonly see at the supermarket – often mislabeled as yams – have copper colored skin and orange flesh, but there are many different varieties, including those that have tan skin with white flesh, red skin with deep orange flesh, or rose-colored skin with orange flesh. (More about those in Jessica’s previous post about California sweetpotatoes.) Sweet potatoes and sweetpotatoes (confusing, right?!) are grown domestically and have a creamy, sweet flesh, whereas yams are generally imported from the Caribbean and are larger with a dry, starchy flesh.

Now that we’ve familiarized you with the difference between sweet potatoes/sweetpotatoes and yams, here are some of the nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes:

  • Bursting with beta carotene and vitamin A
  • Good source of vitamin C and fiber
  • High in antioxidant activity
  • Will lower the glycemic index when eaten with the skin
  • On the list of Clean 15 produce, which means there’s no reason to spend more on organic varieties

There are so many ways to eat this Nutritioulicious root vegetable: steamed, roasted, baked, sautéed, broiled, even raw! Growing up, my mother and grandmother would always have steamed sweet potatoes as an after school snack.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I am planning to try Jessica’s super simple recipe for Mashed Sweet Potatoes. And if you’re up for more of a culinary adventure, you can try one of these Nutritioulicious sweet potato recipes: Kale & Sweetpotato Lentil Salad, Sweetpotato Black Bean Quesadillas, and Sweet Potato Salad.

For even more sweet potato recipes, check out my Nutritious and Delicious Sweet Potato Recipe Roundup!

What is your favorite way to eat sweet potatoes or sweetpotatoes?

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  1. I love sweet potatoes! Once I mistakenly bought a yam and when I cooked it and saw it was a yam, I was so bummed! They are totally different 🙂 I have one on my kitchen counter right now. I’ll microwave them and top with Greek yogurt and cinnamon for a quick snack sometimes. Yum!

  2. I love them roasted, sometimes with cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon, etc, sometimes with some nuts.
    Never butter or sugar – they are delicious just very simple