Trim Thanksgiving: Sweet Potatoes

By , SparkPeople Blogger
This is the first in a series of blog posts about how to slim down your Thanksgiving side dishes and treats. For more information about healthier Thanksgiving cooking, read this article.

The poor yam and sweet potato. These brightly colored and antioxidant-rich vegetables are naturally sweet, but their flavors are masked by loads of brown sugar and marshmallows on Thanksgiving.

Typical candied yams or sweet potatoes:
Serving size=3/4 cup (about the size of a baseball)
240 calories 7 g fat

Six ounces (3/4 cup) of sweet potatoes only have 180 calories (plus they're packed full of beta carotene, vitamin C and ), so the remaining 80 calories and all that fat usually come from sweeteners.

  • Use just a touch of honey or real maple syrup to accentuate the sweet potatoes.
  • Leave the marshmallows for s'mores and hot cocoa.
  • These recipes have a third of the fat and calories as the original.
  • Even sweet potato pie can be slimmed down to fewer than 150 calories a serving. (Try baking it without the crust to save 112 calories and 7.5 calories per slice.)
    How do you serve sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving? I'll be making sweet potato pie, for sure, but this sweet potato stir fry by Mark Bittman sounds good, too.

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I make baked yam fries under the broiler with olive oil in a spray. and there wonderful so our sweet potatoes. I am going to try beet cooked that way soon..YUM YUM Report
Since I started loseing weight, I haven't bought any white potatoes.
But, I've been eating lots of baked yams with just a little I can't believe it's not butter. And I love them like that. Report
i love sweet potatoes! Report
I love sweet potatoes. My DH and I often share a baked one as a side for dinner. He likes a little cinnamon sugar on his. I like mine plain or with a dab of smart balance low salt. Someone else brings the sweet taters at Thanksgiving, so I usually skip them. I know I can have one I'll enjoy any day of the week without the marshmellow stuff. Report
For most of my life, I thought I hated sweet potatoes. Turns out...I hated the crud that everyone smothers them with! I HATE sweet potatoes with marshmallows and sugar and butter all over them.

I love PLAIN sweet potatoes! I wish people would stop torturing them with all of the extra junk.

I like them sprinkled with some chopped nuts and MAYBE some molasses...maybe not...but please...stop trying to suffocate the sweet potatoes!

And leave the skins on. YUM! Report
I absolutely love sweet potatoes! I think they are the most wonderful tasting thing without anything added to them. However, I do think I like the sweet potato and pineapple combination listed in this article. I just may have to give that a try. Report
mm-mm-mm. sweet potato pie Report
I peel and slice my yam. Then spray with olive oil on a baking sheet, and in the center I place either a piece of salmon or chicken breast. Roast at 420 for 20 - 22 min. Add your salad and you have a great meal. Report
I love my sweet potatos cut up and coated with butter flavored cooking spray (just a quick spritz), and roasted with fresh cranberries...if I want a little sweet in them I add about a Tbsp of honey (this is for 4 small sweet potatos, cut), or 1 Tbsp brown sugar (or splenda equivelant).....YUM!!! Report
I LOVE yams! Report
On holidays, I make our traditional family recipe for yams (or sweet potatoes) which has butter and brown sugar on them. The tradition is important to us and I eat moderately from that dish to control my portions. The rest of the time, I love them baked with nothing on them. Report
Evertime I have a Get-Together and make a fresh veggie tray I put sliced raw sweet potatoes on it! People are surprised to find out that they are sweet potatoes!! They love them!! Report
I slice the sweet potatoes into wedges, toss them in olive oil, sprinkle them with cayene and roast them @ 425 for 15-20 min turning a few times...yummy! Report
I love vegatables plain or just with butter. Sweet potatoes are so good they really need nothing other then some butter. Report
Sounds good. Report
I love sweet potatoes!! I like to eat them baked with a little butter, salt, and pepper and they are great! Report
I like them mashed and I put a little bit of Brummel and Brown spread or Olivio with a sprinkle of cinnamon on them. Very good and low in calories Report
I love sweet potatoes, although I've never tried them with the marshmallows (sound kinda gross to me). Try slicing thinly and baking at low heat. It makes them into sweet potato chips. Report
We eat our sweet potatoes baked and dry also. They are so naturally creamy and sweet that they stand alone! Report
Sweet potatoes were my one of my son's first weaning foods! They are perfect - just cook, mask and feed to your little ones.
He's 17 now and they are still one of his favorite foods! Report
Interesting - I ALWAYS eat my sweet potatoes baked and dry - they are naturally sweet and so yummy! Finally even have DH converted to a plain sweet potato. Report
Sweet potatoes can be that healthy dessert Report
I love sweet potatoes. I put them in the microwave and when they are done, I sprinkle them with stevia and cinnamon. They are delicious. Report
I am actually still going to make candied yams this year. I am just substituting brown sugar for splenda brown sugar substitute and low fat margarine in small moderations. Report
I keep forcing myself to try different sweet potato item, the marshmellow topping being the one exception. I just haven't found a way to enjoy them. I found 1 food that I actually don't like. -wow Report
I Usually just use butter except at thanksgiving and then use marshmallows and honey or brown sugar. I usually use the lite br. sugar and save some calories that way. Report
Ok, I still just can not get my head around your custom of putting marshmallows in your sweet potatoes. It is really an American thing. Up here in Canada we usually just eat them with a little butter on them. Had heard about the marshmallow thing on American TV but part of me thought it was just something the writers made up. Then I joined Spark and saw all the comments about sweet potatoes and marshmallows from the American members. Still seems like two foods that just shouldn't be together. Report
I'm all about giveaways and free contests!! Report
I'll probably do the traditional candied sweet potatoes with marshmallows for those who want them. My one BIL insists that Satan will come instead of Santa if you don't have marshmallows on the sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving. But, for those of us who don't want all the "extras" I'm planning on taking some plain, baked sweet potatoes that we can re-heat in the microwave. Report
i love sweet potatoes any way i can get them. recently i came across some small ones (6" long and 2" across at the widest). they were recently harvested locally, so i sliced them about 1/4" thick and 'fried' them. i used a non stick skillet with no added oil. they were tender and wonderful without any added sugar. Report
I LOVE sweet potatoes and yams! They're so yummy! My family loves our sweet potato cassarole (minus the marshmellows) on thanksgiving, but we eat them with a sprinkle of brown sugar or a little salt and butter (which is much healthier) throughout the year. I love them tossed with other roasted veggies as well. The best part about sweet potatoes/yams, is that they are naturally sweet so you don't have to use a lot of sugar or honey to sweeten them. Report
I roast mine at about 425 for 20 minutes or more with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. I throw brussel sprouts in there, or put asparagus on the side of the tray and roast them at the same time. You can't beat the flavor! Report
I never used to like sweet potatoes but now I do and my family has come to like them also! Report
yeah for giveaways! Report
I like the baked or boiled. Must be fresh, no canned ones for me, YUCK.

I honestly have never had the candied sweet potatoes with marshmallows. And really don't want to. Report
Sweet Potatoes are so good... only need a tiny bit of butter and salt and pepper.
If you like, use butter flavor buds...
but what is one pat of butter when it comes to flavor!! That little bit is not heavy in calories, and adds so much to the taste! Report
I will try them with a little cinnamon. Thanks. Report
I agree! I cut them up and bake them and they are so good. I give them to the grandbabies and they like them. Report
I love them any and every way. You shoudl try them baked, like french fries... awesome. Report
My sweet potatoes are going to be totally decadent. I bake the sweet potatoes in the oven, carmelize some onions and just when the onions are mostly carmelized, I'll add some diced bacon and let that cook up with the onions. I'll slice up the sweet potatoes and add them to the onions and bacon with just a tiny bit of brown sugar. YUMMO! Report
I had an amazing dish in September that had sweet potatoes, white potatoes, caramelized onions in layers. Report
Sweet Potatoes are truly one of my favorites! I just have to lay off the candied ones but I love sweet potatoes...... I am going to try this approach Report
Another approach to sweet potatoes: microwave them after poking a few holes in the skin, then half them and put a little butter substitute on top. We use Olivio which has Omega 3s and a basically healthy formula as long as you don't over do it (like all things... in moderation!). Notice that sugar was not mentioned. Report
I bake a couple of bananas until the skin is black and mash them up with the sweet potatoes. No sweetener needed and just a little bit of non fat milk or broth. Everyone LOVES them! Report
I bake mine and serve them plain ... never saw any need for sweeteners on these, provided you get a good batch and bake them long enough to see a bit of the juices drip out. No candied stuff for me! Report
Sweet potatoes are great! You don't need ANYTHING on them... Report
I mash them, add beaten egg whites, top with pecan pieces and bake in the oven. Mmmm, tastes so decadent, and less calories than the traditional Sweet Potato Casserole. I also like them just baked with salt and pepper, especially baked enough to have carmalized a bit on the outside.

Beth G Report
Whenever I do mashed potatoes, I throw a sweet potato in there, too. Adds vitamins, sweetness, and a lovely golden color (so they look nice and buttery). Report
Just boil them with their skin on, when almost cooked, remove all water and cook some more to dry. Skin with your hands, dab some butter and brown sugar. Yummy! Report
i like slicing them really thin and bake them with a little cinnamon. yummy! Report
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