Homemade baked sweet potatoes

The holidays go into full swing this month, 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 percent between 2000 and 2016, according to the USDA.

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 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 degrees 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 a classic sweet potato pie, it won’t be difficult for you to celebrate Sweet Potato Month!

Source: harvard.edu

UPCOMING EVENTS

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 13: QPR gatekeeper training, 7-8:30 p.m. at the Dassel Area History Museum, 901 First St., Dassel. QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer, the three simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Register by calling Candace Hoversten at 320-484-4557 or email choversten@hutchhealth.com.

TUESDAYS, NOV. 12, 26: Reduced admission 4-7 p.m. during $2 Tuesdays at the Wheel and Cog Children's Museum in the Hutchinson Mall, 1060 State Highway 15 S.

HUTCHINSON RECREATION CENTER, 900 Harrington St. S.W., is available for a variety of enjoyable activities for people of all ages. Rec Center activities include: 

  • Open basketball: $3/person
  • Open basketball pass (August-December 31): $25/person
  • Basketball/volleyball court rental: $20/hour/court
  • Family open gym: $5/family (Sunday)
  • Indoor playground (age 5 or younger): $3/child or $4/family or $50/family pass
  • Private gym rental: $40/hour
  • Pickleball: $3/person
  • Walking/jogging: free

To enjoy any of these activities or find additional Recreation Center information, call 320-587-2975.

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