Sweet Potato the Nutritious Vegetable

Sweet Potatoes in Field

Photo Courtesy of fotosearch
Photo Courtesy of fotosearch

Sweet Potato

Photo Courtesy of All Recipes
Photo Courtesy of All Recipes

Buying Sweet Potatoes

The sweet potato is a large starchy vegetable that is actually a sweet tasting tuberous root. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. There are more than 1000 species of Convolvulaceae, which is the plant family for this potato. It is actually distantly related to the white potato. Sweet potatoes were domesticated at least 5000 years ago in South America. In 1543, Spanish explorers also found sweet potatoes in “Indian Gardens” in Louisiana and in Carolina. They are now cultivated throughout tropical and warm temperate regions where there is sufficient water.

When buying sweet potatoes it isn’t much different than buying white potatoes. They should be heavy for their size, firm, free of blemishes, mold or sprouts. If they have sprouts you know they are really old. You can store the potatoes in the pantry in a cool dark place and they usually will keep for 2 or 3 weeks. Scrub them before you bake or peel them as they usually have loose dirt on the skin.

Nutritional Value of a Sweet Potato

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) ranks the sweet potato as number one in nutrition of all vegetables.

Nutritional Information for sweet potato –one medium potato:

  • Calories 130
  • Fat 0.39 g
  • Protein 2.15 g
  • Net Carbs 31.56 g
  • Dietary fiber 3.9 g
  • Calcium 28.6 mg
  • Sodium 16.9 mg
  • Potassium 265.2 mg
  • Folate 18.2 mcg
  • Vitamin C 29.51 mg
  • Vitamin A 26081.9 IU

Sweet potatoes have the lowest glycemic index among root vegetables. This is because the sweet potato digests slowly causing a gradual rise in blood sugar so you feel satisfied.


Photo Courtesy of Clip Art
Photo Courtesy of Clip Art

Yam Characteristics

The softer variety of orange potatoes is called Yam in North American in an attempt to differentiate it from the firmer white potato. The yam is unrelated to the sweet potato and it is native to Africa and Asia. This tuber grows on a tropical vine. Many yams grow wild in South
America. There are differences between sweet potatoes and yams. Yams contain more natural sugar than the sweet potato and have a higher moisture content. They are very popular in South America. While they are very nutritious, they don’t quite compare to the sweet potato

Sweet Potato Casserole Demonstration

Sweet Potatos and Apple

My photo
My photo

Sweet Potato Dishes

Besides just baking a sweet potato there are many delicious ways to cook them. These are a few good recipes: candied sweet potatoes, sweet potato soufflé, sweet potato fries, sweet potato salad, sweet potato casserole, and sweet potato hash browns to name just a few. There are numerous recipes found on the Internet and in your cookbooks. Many of these casseroles have added white and brown sugar, butter, marshmallow topping and pecans, so the calories would be higher. The more heavy laden recipes are quite often used for special occasions, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are also some low fat recipes using skim milk, egg whites, and lesser amounts of brown sugar with toppings of chopped pecans, brown sugar, flour and butter. You could also microwave sweet potatoes and use just a bit of margarine with a little maple syrup for a topping.

Casserole with Marshmellow Topping

Photo courtesy of Fotosearch
Photo courtesy of Fotosearch

Sweet Potato Soup


Sweet Potato Soup

Sweet potatoes can also be used in soups. They are often creamy soups with a chicken or vegetable broth base and several spices are often added, such as cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Also, the soup might have garlic, celery, leeks, and onion.

Making Sweet Potato Pie

Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding Cake

Photo Courtesy of Recipe Land
Photo Courtesy of Recipe Land

Sweet Potato Desserts

We can’t overlook the wonderful desserts using sweet potatoes. There are some good cake recipes and no good Southerner would let Thanksgiving pass by without sweet potato pie. It is a loved dessert in the south.

Sweet Potato Pie

Courtesy of all recipes
Courtesy of all recipes

Sweet Potato Cookbook

In Conclusion

As this hub has shown, sweet potatoes are very nutritious and you can keep the calories down by just baking one in your microwave or oven. There are numerous ways you can prepare this healthy vegetable for a meal with casseroles and soups. Of course, the desserts are delicious.

James Taylor sings "Sweet Potato"

© 2010 Pamela Oglesby

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Comments 58 comments

RevLady profile image

RevLady 6 years ago from Lantana, Florida

Seems like great recipes and suggestions but I detest sweet potatoes.

Forever His,

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Rev Lady, Sorry you don't like them but maybe you know someone who does.Thank you so much for your comments.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

I had once because I kept about them. Maybe I didn't do it right but I wasn't impressed. Nevertheless, it is a well written hub with good tips of various ways to use them.

Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV


I used to think I didn't like sweet potatos until I tried them now I love them . I even like them mashed like white potatos.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Hello, Thank you for your comments.

Tom, I like them also. Thanks for your comment.

2besure profile image

2besure 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

I simply love sweet potatoes and they are a much healthier starch then white potatoes.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Hi, Pamela. I didn't think I would ever like sweet potatoes whole or mashed - and I still don't. But here's what is strange (or maybe it's me). I love sweet potato fries - just like French fries but made with sweet potatoes. They are the Best!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

2besure Thank you for your comment.

drbj, Everyone's taste is different. I started liking sweet potatoes more as an adult. Thanks for your comment.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

I don't know how you do it, Pamela! You keep writing about some of my favorite foods, especially of the produce type. There are so many lovely ways sweet potatos can grace a meal. The soup is out of this world. It's akin to butternut squash soup and pumpkin soup, both just divine.

I know nothing better than a baked sweet potato with either few or more additives. It's so good by itself, it hardly needs any, but it can become a food for the gods & a different side dish - or main course - by the addition of various kinds of seasoning and toppings. If adding anything, I usually prefer just aa little butter & a little salt & pepper. Also love it with curry & that genre of seasonings.

Of course -it's already sweet and takes very kindly to brown sugar or honey and marshmallows or whipped cream or cream cheese. To me it's a dessert, though. Its nutrients & health benefits are many - and without too many extras, it makes a very satisfying low calorie main course. Add a nice salad and - voila. It feels "full" and satisfying!

drbj - have you tasted the sweet potato chips? They are really incredibly good. Popular at Santa Fe type Mexican restaurants, served along with blue corn chips and regular tortilla chips with salsas.

These are great recipes and ideas, Pamela! I have one in my crisper - maybe tonight's the night to bake it! Or even make it by some other process! :-)

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Nellieanna, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I like them cooked just plain also. Thanks for your comment.

Teddletonmr profile image

Teddletonmr 6 years ago from Midwest USA

Sweet potato frys, oven fried are great, dipped in a ranch dressing made using greek yogurt, that's gooooood...

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

teddletonmr, Thank you for your comments.

K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 6 years ago from Northern, California

My dad always made sweet potaoes at our holiday dinners. We had white mashed also, but for me, the sweet potaoes were the best. Really enjoyed the hub and I am shocked at just how nutrtious they are. Amazed at the potassium content...looks like the banana may have a competitor? Very enjoyable read Pam!

~always choose love~

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia

pamela99, we often eat these but would never have thought of using it for a sweet and marshmallow topping too its amazing. thanks for sharing this one. rated up.

carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

It's great for keeping testosterone levels up in middle aged men, as well!! Great post!!!

MPG Narratives profile image

MPG Narratives 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Sweet potatoes are one of my favourite vegetables but I didn't realise you could use them in so many different ways. I just bought some organic ones and will try them with some of your ideas soon. Thanks Pamela

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

K9keystrokes, That is what we did on Thanksgiving also. Thanks for your comment.

Eileen, I'm glad you got some new ideas. Thanks for your comment.

carolina, Thanks for adding some new information.

MPG, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for your comment.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD

Thank you for an informative & interesting Hub. I enjoyed it. And what's weird is, I had a baked sweet potato for supper last night.

4FoodSafety profile image

4FoodSafety 6 years ago from Fontana, WI

Outstanding and all about one of my favorites and often hard to find. I grew up with the marshmellows on the sweet potatoes - yum! I also have made the same recipes inside of a cutout of oranges - great taste and spectacular presentation.

Great Hub! You set the standard high!

profile image

peacefulparadox 6 years ago

I always like sweet potatoes and yams -- but I have a hard time telling them apart. At first I thought that they were just two different names for the same thing. Thanks for clarifying their differences.

Support Med. profile image

Support Med. 6 years ago from Michigan

That casserole with the marshmallow topping looks so good! I've never eaten them that way, but I may give it a try for the holidays. I usually just add a little butter, brown sugar, sprinkle a little nutmeg, sometimes cinnamon and sometimes lemon juice. I have some in my cabinet now. I did not realize how nutritious they are, good to know, I'll eat more of them. Voted-up/rated!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Ken, I am so glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for the comment.

4FoodSafety, Thank you so much for the compliment and for your comments.

Peacefulparadox, Thank you so much for your comments.

Support Med, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for your comment.

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago

I love sweet potatoes. As a kid, my mother would steam them and offer them as snacks--since we were too poor to buy commercially produced snacks. I love them baked and will eat them just like that. I love all your pictures, they look so incredibly delicious. Nicely done and enjoyed the read. Rated it up.

Roberta99 profile image

Roberta99 6 years ago

Sweet potatoes I can live without except at Holiday time, then the casseroles are delicious.

Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

I love James Taylor and your hub, did you know that yams are what gives women estrogen, God has created everything for us in herbs, plants, and foods, its an awesome and fabulous hub. Your fan and friend....

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Anginwu, Since they are sweet I think they make a good snack. Thank you for your comments.

Roberta, Thank you for your comments.

Darlene, I agree you are a fan and friend also. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and thank you for your comments.

katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

I love sweet potatoes and this nutritious vegetable info def has me loving them more. That pic of pie has me wanting PIE really bad, pie is my favorite food. :)

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Katiem, I like them also and eat them at least once a week. Thanks for your comments.

Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

I love sweet potatoes and yams! Ate so many once that my skin started turning orange; seriously. So now I make sure to eat them only occasionally, but I really could eat them everyday. Thanks for providing such a great hub on a perfect food. :) Rating up!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Money Glitch, I never thought about your turning orange by eating too many. Thanks for your comment.

Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware

Excellent article about sweet potatoes Pam! I have discovered sweet potato fries, and of course I love sweet potato pie. I will remember the potassium level of these because it will come in handy when my potassium level gets depleted by medicine. Thanks!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Jen's Solitude, I'm glad you learned about the potassium. I am going to have to try those sweet potato fries. Thanks for your comments.

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Sweet potatoes rock! Thanks for the great recipes.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

BPOP, Thanks for your comment.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

One of my favorite veggies - and didn't know you could eat the leaves, etc. Learn something new every day!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

akirchner, I love them too. Thanks for your comment.

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Now we are talking really, I miss this one, my mom loves to cook this boiled and so it is very nutritious, awesome, Maita

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Miata, Thank you for your comments.

nancy_30 profile image

nancy_30 6 years ago from Georgia

Great information. I haven't had sweet potatoes in awhile, but I love them.

habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Oh, we love sweet taters!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Nancy, Thanks for your comment.

Habee, We so too. Thanks for your comment.

Lamme profile image

Lamme 6 years ago

I love sweet potatoes ... and sweet potato pie :)

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Lamme, me too. Thanks for your comments.

MartyWare profile image

MartyWare 6 years ago from New South Wales Australia

My Mum put me onto sweet potatoes because of the nutritional value. I love them steamed. Also they are low in carbs. Keeps the weight down!

Marty Ware

The SEO DAD & The creator of the Hubpages Tribe.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Marty, Thanks your so much for your comments.

hoangkimvietnam profile image

hoangkimvietnam 6 years ago from Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam

Greeting from hoangkimvietnam. Excellent. I would like to share it at http://foodcrops.blogspot.com. Thank you very much.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

I appreciate you sharing this hub. Thanks for your comment.

jake 6 years ago

How many sweet potatoes could you eat daily without worrying about over doing the Vitamin A ?

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Jake, I don't have an exact answer to that but it would be very difficult to eat so much that Vitamin A became a problem. You just don't hear about vitamin A overdoses.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

I always wondered what the difference was between sweet potatoes and yams and now, thanks to you, I know. I like sweet potatoes best when simply mashed and also when added to soups. Need to put them on my shopping list! Thanks for this informative hub. Voted up and useful and will share.

CASE1WORKER profile image


Great hub. My husband bought some sweet potatoes in our local supermarket and then combined them in equal quantities with normal potatoes to make mash. This he used to cover his fish pie- the flavour was superb! I think we will be using them more

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Good info here on sweet potatoes--an amazing food for its nutrition and varieties of uses in recipes from desserts to main dishes. Glad to learn more about its nutrition here--thanks!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Peggy, Yes, they are a healthy choice. Thank you for your comment.

Case1worker, That recipe sounds very interesting. I haven't had anything like that but I think I would like it. Thanks for your comments.

RTalloni, I agree completely. I appreciate your comments.

RKHenry profile image

RKHenry 4 years ago from Neighborhood museum in Somewhere, USA

Scary stuff Peg... Makes one wary about they are eating these days.

BDhire profile image

BDhire 4 years ago

I think this recipe will be delicious I will try it :)

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

RKHenry, I fail to see what is scary about sweet potatoes. You can simply bake them in the oven like a white potato and get more nutrients. The recipes with sugar may be your concern. Thanks for the comment.

BDhire, Thank you for your comment.

snowdrops profile image

snowdrops 4 years ago from The Second Star to the Right

Great recipes! hmm..now, im starving!!

Love this hub!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Snowdrops, That happens to me also when I read some of the great recipes on Hubpages. Thanks for your comments.

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