There are lots of times when I go to make dinner and I have a blank. Not a blank thought but a blank spot on my plate. Do you have those moments? I’ll make fish with a vegetable and ….. blank. I used to throw in a box of quick rice (you know, the really unhealthy kind with lots of sodium) and call it a day. But the more I analyze my habits and become aware of them, I question my actions. Is it really healthy to feed myself that big box of sodium? Yuck. I don’t want to feed myself that box or my family anymore. I am turning over a leaf – it may even surprise me and be a flower on the other side.
A very satisfying side meal for me is a bowl of potatoes. But not just any kind, sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes have great nutritional properties such as:
- High in vitamin B – (helps prevent heart attacks)
- Good source of vitamin C – which helps keep bones strong as well as prevents colds AND helps us with stress. Do you have stress? Eat a sweet potato!
- Contains iron – also a stress reducer
- Good source of potassium - a very important electrolyte that helps your heart
They also taste great. Now why sweet potatoes and not white potatoes? Research shows that sweet potatoes have more fiber and a higher level of vitamin A and C. They also have a lower glycemic index which is prefered for people who have diabetes.
Here’s my second point. I use the word “healthy” a lot, however so does everyone else. It’s always thrown around such as, “Eat that, it’s good for you … it’s healthy.” Or “Did you try that dish? It’s really healthy.” What the heck does that mean? Oh, I got it – as long as we eat in moderation, I will be healthy. Let’s go further – what does that mean? Moderation? What is in moderation for you? Once every week? Perhaps once a month? Once every six months? There’s lots of confusion between these two words. There’s not a set definition for either.
I wanted to prepare this recipe in two different ways for you. You decide which one is healthier for you. It’s up to you and what your values are. The first recipe is how I prepared the sweet potatoes in the picture.
- 1-2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2-3 sweet potatoes: chopped to bite size pieces
Same as above, but add 1 -2 Tbs brown sugar, depending upon sweetness level
Sugar and I are having a battle lately. A war that I will win however many little battles in between. As I mentioned, I know I will win. So, I cut out the brown sugar and guess what, they taste just as good.
Let’s add some more to the recipe, what ingredients are healthy to you? Some add-ons can be: raisins, maple syrup, nuts, whip cream, butter etc. I’m just trying to make you think. Empower you with decisions that make you feel good with what you eat. What you decide is healthy for you. My version of healthy may be unacceptable to yours and that is okay. What is moderation to you? What is healthy to you? Be a researcher and educate yourself with information that you find acceptable and makes you feel good about you.
Step 1: Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Step 2: In a bowl, combine potatoes, cinnamon and sugar, if using.
Step 3: Prepare a 11×17 pan with aluminum foil. Spread coated potatoes on top.
Step 4: Bake 15-20 minutes. Turn after 15 minutes. The more you bake them, the sweeter they become!
Notice the foods you eat. Read the labels. Make decisions that make you feel good. I always ask myself, “If I have this ___, will I feel good?” Does it make my body feel good? How am I going to feel after I make this decision? If you take a few seconds to think than reacting, you are giving yourself a gift. It’s up to you what that gift will be. Ever get coal for Christmas? That’s not always fun. Just kidding! Give yourself the gift of how you want to live your own life. You’re in control. You can conquer that blank spot on your plate.