Sweet potatoes (not to be confused with yams) are packed with health benefits, but they may also help you shed unwanted pounds. If you only indulge in your favorite restaurant’s sweet potato fries or have an extra serving of sweet potato pie at Thanksgiving dinner, you’re missing out on seeing what it can do for your body! Check out how incorporating a few more of these orange tubers in your diet can help you lose weight and try a few of our healthy sweet potato recipes.
They're low in calories. Shedding pounds is simply about burning more calories than we consume, so choosing lower-calorie foods with substantial nutrients can promote weight loss. A medium-sized sweet potato (which is about five inches long) is packed with nutrients your body needs but is only about 100 calories. For a vegetable, it is relatively high in calories, but compared to other side dishes, a sweet potato is a smart choice if you’re looking to lose weight.
>> For a smarter side, try our Slow Cooker Mashed Sweet Potatoes!
They're a good source of fiber. A one-cup serving of sweet potato (equivalent to one medium-sized potato) contains about 4 grams of fiber. High-fiber foods help you feel fuller longer, fighting the urge to overeat and avoiding the added calories of a second snack. Swapping out your usual salty or sweet snack or side dish with a sweet potato may help you lose weight since it will leave you satisfied longer.
>> Our recipe for Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes has 4 grams of fiber per serving. Get the recipe here!
They regulate blood sugar levels. Though sweet potatoes’ sweet flavor and starchy properties may fool you, they actually have a low glycemic index. This means that they release sugar slowly into your bloodstream when consumed, steadying blood sugar levels. Controlling these levels will keep you energized so you’ll be more active and less lethargic. Sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of manganese, which metabolizes carbs and has the ability to regulate your appetite.
As with any healthy food, in order to maintain its good-for-you properties and promote weight loss, sweet potatoes must be prepared wisely. Avoid buttering up or adding marshmallows or brown sugar to your cooked potatoes. To hold their nutrients and healthy value, they’re best prepared baked or steamed with a hint of butter or a trace of olive oil. Or if you’re needing a kick, try our Spicy Sweet Potato Fries, tossed in pepper and spices for powerful flavor.
>> For more recipe ideas, check out 34 Ways to Cook With Sweet Potatoes!