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Twice-Baked Mexican-Style Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are mostly known as a side dish at the Thanksgiving table of mostly every household in the United States. In fact, sweet potatoes are so popular, agricultural production results in over 2.6 billion pounds of sweet potatoes each year. With so many sweet potatoes out there in the U.S. and around the globe it makes this sweet, antioxidant-rich vegetable easy to find on any grocer’s shelf.  But aside from the traditional, fattening and sugar laden sweet potatoes dish that many of us dive into late in November, the sweet potato can be prepared in a number of healthy ways. With all the health benefits they offer, having them on our menu more than a few times a year is a must. This nutritional powerhouse is not only delicious but can also boost your health and performance.

Vitamin A. sweet potatoes are packed with Vitamin A, the fat-soluble vitamin that leads to better eyesight and better immune function. Because Vitamin A deficiency is associated with decreased resistance to infection, a diet devoid of this vitamin (and other vital antioxidants) can easily sideline training. Long mileage can put you at risk for suppressed immune function, which can lead to upper respiratory tract infections. A way to fight back is to aim for a daily intake of 900ug retinol activity equivalents (RAE) for men and 700ug for women. A medium-sized baked sweet potato can supply you with over 100 percent (or more) of your daily needs.

Beta-Carotene. The bright orange color of a sweet potato you know it must be full of beta-carotene which helps to protect your skin from sun damage by deflecting and repairing cell damage caused by excessive UV exposure. Along with Vitamin A, beta-carotene is critical for eye health and has been linked to prevention of vision loss and macular degeneration. Like the fat-soluble vitamin A, you need just a little bit of fat (3-5 grams) in your meal to help you best absorb this nutrient. Luckily, it’s not hard to convince many runners to top their mashed sweet potatoes with a bit of heart-healthy grass-fed butter or chopped nuts.

Carbohydrates: You know you need them to fuel your workouts and long runs, but did you know that plain, mashed sweet potatoes make an excellent mid-run fuel? Simply peel and boil a medium sweet potato. Mash it and place it in a zipper storage bag. When you start to need fuel (and your taste buds simply can’t take another gel or block or bean), tear off a corner of the bag and squeeze. A cup of mashed sweet potato contains 58 grams of carbohydrates, which will easily fuel you for an hour. Like gels, don’t forget to chase with water!

Vitamin C. Running is known to increase oxidative stress and free radicals, which over time can lead to damaged cells, tissues, and organs. Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, naturally fights against oxidative stress and the free radicals it creates. While Vitamin C might not prevent your next cold, but it has been found to shorten the duration. And while you may have taken supplements in the past, most experts agree it’s best to get this antioxidant from real food.

Manganese. While you don’t hear much about manganese, this trace mineral offers some powerful health benefits. It is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, thereby supporting healthy blood sugar levels. It also plays a role in bone metabolism (bone health). Manganese is commonly found in nuts and legumes; sweet potatoes are another great source of this nutrient.

It’s easy to prepare sweet potatoes, you can mash them and keep them plain, make a sweet potato gratin or casserole with a topping of chopped nuts and spices, puree them and create a hummus-type dip, simply boil them, turn them into homemade baked fries. There are endless possibilities with amazing health benefits.

Print Recipe
Twice-Baked Mexican-Style Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes make for the perfect fuel the night before a hard long run, as the tuber will help you store glycogen so you can avoid hitting “the wall.” Note: You may want to omit the beans if you have a sensitive stomach.
IMG_5300-600x400 Twice-Baked Mexican-Style Sweet Potatoes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1-1 1/2 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1-1 1/2 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
IMG_5300-600x400 Twice-Baked Mexican-Style Sweet Potatoes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a tray with parchment paper, and wrap each sweet potato separately in foil. Place the wrapped sweet potatoes on your tray. Cook until soft, around 1 hour and 30 minutes. (Keep in mind every sweet potato is different depending on the size you buy.)
  2. Let sweet potatoes cool completely, unwrap and cut them in half. Scoop out the center very carefully, leaving the skin intact; it is a good idea to leave some sweet potato inside so you avoid ripping the skin.
  3. Place sweet potato filling in a large mixing bowl. Add chopped spinach, almond milk (start with 1/2 cup), nutritional yeast, hot sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add more almond milk if necessary.
  4. Mix and mash together until smooth. Place emptied sweet potato skins on a tray lined with parchment paper. Fill each with the mashed mixture, remembering to leave some room for the beans. Add a heaping tablespoon of black beans to the center of each potato.
  5. Warm in 350-degree oven for 15–20 minutes. In the meanwhile, mix avocado, tomatoes, lemon juice and salt and pepper together. Before serving, top each potato with a large spoonful of avocado salad.
Recipe Notes

Note: The Environmental Working Group puts out each year a list of fruit and vegetable that have the most pesticide residue in them and should most definitely be bought organic.  Spinach is list #2 and tomatoes #10. They also have a list of fruits and vegetables that are safe to buy conventional to help keep down the grocery bill. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php

Referenced from: http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2016/09/running-on-veggies/sweet-potato-recipe-to-fuel-long-run_

 

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