Fancy some spuds? Try these sweet potato recipes (shakarkandi in Hindi) instead. Low on carbs, this crunchy, starch root vegetable packs a powerful nutritional punch as it is rich in flavonoid anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibers, all essential for optimal health.

Sweet potatoes are available all year round, but like most carbs, should be eaten either just before or after exercise, for up to about three hours. Low on the glycemic index scale, the vegetable’s high fiber content gives it a “slow burning” quality. But eating it at the right time of day is important; when eaten post workout, it can help replace muscle glycogen and speed up recovery.

Try sweet potatoes in roasted, puréed, steamed, baked or grilled form. You can add them to soups and stews, or grill and place on top of leafy greens for a delicious salad. Grill them with onions and red peppers to make a great sandwich or wrap filling. Puree and add to smoothies and baked goods.

Are they healthier than regular potatoes? The calorie counts are almost similar, but while 100 g serving of regular potato contains 2.2 g of fiber, sweet potato has 3.3 g. While potatoes are a better source of iron and potassium, and contain slightly more proteins and minerals, sweet potatoes are higher in vitamin A and C.

You can, however, substitute a regular potato with sweet potato in most recipes. To peel a boiled sweet potato, drain the hot water and immediately submerge in cold water. But I’d advise you keep the skin on, since it has nutritional value.

One medium sweet potato (2-inches in diameter, 5-inches long, approximately 114 g) provides 162 calories, 0 g fat, 37 g carbs (including 6 g fiber and 12 g sugar), and 3.6 g protein.

Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 large onion, peeled and halved

3 tbsp enchilada sauce

2 cloves garlic, chopped

Salt and black pepper to taste

1 bay leaf

5 cups chicken stock

1 large baked sweet potato, cubed

Fat-free hung curd for garnish

Method

  1. Heat a deep bottom pot over medium-high heat and add a little olive oil.
  2. Add carrots, celery and onion and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and enchilada sauce and stir to combine.
  4. Stir in salt, pepper and a bay leaf and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add stock, cover and raise heat to high. Bring the soup to a boil, remove cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Add sweet potato and simmer 5 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender. Serve garnished with a dollop of hung curd.

Calories 207 (per serving)

Fat 3g, Carbs 15 g, Protein 30 g

Sweet Potato Pancakes/Waffles

Ingredients:

150 g sweet potato, mashed

1 scoop whey protein (I like to use either vanilla, chocolate or cookies n’ cream)

3 egg whites

¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp cinnamon

Method

  1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until smooth.
  2. Take a ladle full of batter and pour it on a pre-sprayed skillet/waffle-maker. Cook on medium high temperature until bubbles form on the surface, then turn over and cook until dark golden brown. Serve with cinnamon and sugar-free syrup.

Calories 309 (without walnuts)

Fat 1 g, Carbs 35 g, Protein 40 g

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Written by Pooja Wadhwa

Pooja Wadhwa

“Eat healthy to stay healthy” is nutritional counsellor Pooja Wadhwa’s motto, and she hopes to nurture the same belief in HealthifyMe users. A post-graduate in Dietetics and Food Service Management from IGNOU and member of the Delhi Dietetics Association, Pooja is a gold medallist diploma holder in Yoga and Naturopathy. Having worked with multi-speciality hospitals like Max and Fortis Healthcare, she has also conducted counselling sessions at health camps organized by Central Council for Research in Yoga & Naturopathy (CCRYN). Having first-hand experience of the benefits of adapting a healthier lifestyle – she cured her mother’s bone mineral deficiencies and her own seasonal ailments through dietary changes – she believes that determination, effort and flexibility can make any positive change possible. A healthier diet, and consequently healthier mind, helped Pooja focus on her aspirations and goals. She reckons HealthifyMe users who follow her advice will have the same experience.

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