According to a research survey conducted by former Good Housekeeping Nutrition Director, Delia Hammock MS, RD, sweet potatoes are a smart choice for those on diabetic diets. While the word sweet might be a scary word for those watching what they eat, you can ease up on this naturally sweet vegetable and cozy up to some flavorful dishes.
“Sweet potatoes, despite their name, have a medium to low glycemic index, so they produce smaller blood glucose and insulin fluctuations in the body,” says Hammock. “I recommend eating sweet potatoes raw in salads and slaws, or cooked and eaten with the skin for the lowest glycemic impact and for additional nutrients.”
Believe it or not, sweet potatoes can be eaten raw. The flavor is not as sweet as cooked, but it is certainly refreshing and healthy. You can dip sweet potato slices into your favorite dressing, grate them into your daily green salad or turn them into a slaw, like in this recipe:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, julienned or coarsely grated
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup sliced scallions
In large bowl, whisk together oil, lime juice, sugar, ginger and salt. Stir in sweet potatoes, peanuts and scallions. To serve, spoon slaw mixture into lettuce cups.
Yield: about 4 cups slaw
Per serving: 387 calories, 5 g protein, 6 g fiber, 13 g sugar, 24 g fat, 2 g saturated fat
Diabetic exchange: 2 starch, 0.3 other carb, 4 fat
In this month’s issue of Weight Watchers magazine, sweet potatoes are featured as a “food with benefits”. They highlight the fact that sweet potatoes have fiber, which is another reason they are suitable for diabetics. A study published by The New England Journal of Medicine found that a high-fiber diet lowered cholesterol, triglyceride, glucose and insulin levels. Keep ‘em comin’!
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups unpeeled coarsely grated sweet potato
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Preheat over to 350 degrees. Lightly grease large baking sheet. In medium bowl, beat together sugar and butter, add eggs; beat well. Add flour, baking powder, orange zest and salt; beat on low speed until combined. Fold in sweet potato, walnuts and coconut. Divide dough into two equal pieces; with oiled hands, shape each piece into a log about 2-inches by 11-inches; place on baking sheet. Bake until firm and golden, 25-30 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack; cool 15 minutes. Trim thin slice from ends of logs; cut logs into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place slices on 2 ungreased baking sheets with cut side down. Bake 12 minutes; turn and bake until crisp and golden, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Cool completely. Store in tightly covered container.
Yield: abut 4 dozen biscotti
Per 2 biscotti: 116 calories, 1 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 5 g total fat
Diabetic exchange: 0.6 starch, 0.4 other carbs, 0.8 fat