My favorite lunch right now

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The humble sweet potato.

“Huh? I need more information,” is probably what you are thinking right now…but stay with me. In the past I’ve lumped the sweet potato in with regular spuds, thinking that–baked, fried, mashed or au gratin–they are a calorie-laden treat for a special meal. In reality, sweet potatoes are a nutrition-packed powerhouse food. One medium sweet potato is just 90 calories, yet boasts two grams of protein, four grams of fiber, more than 100% of one’s daily Vitamin A intake,  in addition to much-needed calcium, potassium and Vitamin B6.

This winning combination makes them helpful in lowering the body’s blood pressure, regulating one’s heart beat and regulating blood sugar. Moreover, they are filling, but contain no fat. That said, don’t fry them and always eat the skin if you want to reap the full benefits.

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Simple baked sweet potato

I was already hooked on baked sweet potatoes as a dinner side, but when I discovered I could microwave them, I started making them for a quick lunch at least once a week. You can use either method to achieve the same creamy, delicious results.

  • Prepare the sweet potato by pricking it all over with a fork.
  • If baking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and cover a baking sheet or dish with foil. The sweet potato will drip some sticky, natural syrup while baking. Let bake for 45 minutes or until a knife slides into the potato easily.
  • If microwaving, cook on high for 4 to 6 minutes or until a knife slides into the potato easily. It may take cooking one potato to know accurately how quickly your microwave works. I like my sweet potato so well-baked that the skin is practically falling off.
  • Cut open the sweet potato from end-to-end. “Fluff” the potato meat with your fork.
  • Top with a little butter, sea salt, pepper and plain Greek yogurt. Maybe scallions. Caramelized onions. Grilled vegetables. Obviously you could go all out with bacon bits and cheese, but that would defeat the purpose.
  • If I was still working in an office setting, I think this would have been a perfect meal to prepare at work (with these in tow)–especially on cold days when a sandwich isn’t appealing.

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Bon appétit!

 

 

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