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November is Sweet Potato Awareness Month

November is Sweet Potato Awareness Month! This month the holidays go into full swing and what better way to celebrate than with loads of hearty, delicious, and… wait for it… HEALTHY food! That’s right, sweet potatoes fall into all of those categories.  Although people often think of sweet potatoes as a Thanksgiving side dish, these root vegetables are available year-round. They’re becoming more popular too: sweet potato consumption rose by nearly 42% between 2000 and 2016, according to the USDA. (https://tinyurl.com/yyx2v8sf)

The many varieties of sweet potatoes belong to the morning glory family, Convolvulaceae. The skins range in hue from almost white to dark red, with a few types sporting purple skin. Those unusual varieties may also have lavender or purple flesh. But the most common flesh colors range from white to deep orange.

When cooked, some sweet potato varieties stay firm, while others soften. These “soft” varieties are often referred to as yams. But true yams (from the African word nyami) belong to an entirely different plant family related to lilies and grasses.

Here are some of the nutritional facts about this delicious vegetable.

* Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamins C and A. Both nutrients are important for immune system support, and maintaining healthy skin, vision, and organs.

*They are full of antioxidants and other nutrients.

*Sweet potatoes are anti-inflammatory, which lowers the risk of nearly every chronic disease, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

* They help support weight loss. They are so filling, it doesn’t even feel like you’re trying to slim down!

Easy recipe: Pierce sweet potato skins several times with a fork. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 400° F until tender, about 45 minutes.

So, whether you’re baking, mashing, or folding… or cutting it into chunks with ground cinnamon sprinkled on top… or enjoying the classic sweet potato pie… It won’t be difficult for you to celebrate Sweet Potato Month!

Source: harvard.edu

 

Orange & Sweet Potato Pork Chops

Source: unl.edu

This recipe is a great source of protein and the sweet potatoes add important vitamin A. Thanks to the orange and cinnamon flavoring, you may be able to skip the salt entirely.

Once you’ve assembled this main dish, you’re free to do something else while it is baking. Read the paper, take a walk, put in a load of wash or just relax! I had company the night I prepared this and it was easy to toss in an extra pork chop and add another sweet potato.

Makes: 2 servings

Ingredients

2 pork chops

1 sweet potato (peeled)

1/2 orange (sliced)

1 dash cinnamon (optional)

1 dash salt (optional)

1 dash black pepper (optional)

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a medium skillet, brown pork chops in a small amount of oil.

3. Cut sweet potato into 1/2-inch slices.

4. Place meat and sweet potato slices in a baking dish and top with orange slices; sprinkle with seasonings if desired.

5. Cover and bake for 1 hour until meat is tender. Pork is safely cooked when it has been heated to 145 degrees F, followed by a 3 minute rest.

 

Nutrition Facts: Calories, 270; Calories from Fat, 100; Total Fat, 11g; Saturated Fat, 4g; Trans Fat, 0g; Cholesterol, 65 mg; Sodium, 85mg; Total Carbohydrate, 17g; Dietary Fiber, 3g; Sugars, 6g; Protein, 25g.

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