Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes and a Thanksgiving Recipe

Learn the health benefits of sweet potatoes and get my favorite Thanksgiving sweet potato recipe!

Sweet Potato

The sweet potato is a traditional part of Thanksgiving for many of us. Bright orange, super sweet, and often covered in marshmallows, sweet potatoes remind me of holiday cheer. But do they always have to be prepared with so much sugar?

The sweet potato is a nutritional powerhouse. One 1/2-cup serving contains nearly five times the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A and about a third of the RDA for vitamin C, plus B vitamins, vitamins E and K, and a smattering of minerals.

purple sweet potatoThe sweet potato usually used for holiday meals in the United States is bright orange and full of natural sugars, but that’s not the only variety available in grocery stores. In recent years, whiter fleshed varieties and a few other colors have been making an appearance. 95% of the sweet potatoes grown worldwide are white. Only the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and Japan prefer the orange varieties.

If you want to try one with less sugar, but you’re not ready to leave behind the traditional orange on the table, consider using two or more different varieties of sweet potato in your dish.

Thanksgiving Sweet Potatoes


  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 6 tablespoons non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons whiskey (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and slice ½ inch thick.
  2. Melt half the margarine in a skillet. When foaming subsides, stir in half the brown sugar until it is dissolved.
  3. Saute half the sweet potatoes in the margarine sugar mixture over medium heat for about ten to fifteen minutes. The sweet potatoes are done when they are tender to your preference. There will be some browning around the edges of the slices.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and transfer the sweet potatoes to the serving dish.
  5. Repeat the same procedure with the other half of the ingredients.
  6. Splash the whiskey onto the sweet potatoes, if you like. Grate some nutmeg over the top and serve.

Sweet potato and purple sweet potato photos via Shutterstock

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