You Versus Food

Sweet Potatoes Are the Secret Gut-Healthy, Anti-Inflammatory Stars of Thanksgiving—Here Are 5 Ways To Eat Them

Emily Laurence

Food can be… confusing. Should you be avoiding gluten at all costs? Gobbling up avocados as fast as humanly possible? Well+Good's nutrition experts are setting the story straight when it comes to food, cutting through the hype and hand-wringing and getting you the most comprehensive information on what you should (and maybe shouldn't) put in that body of yours. See All

Thanksgiving is definitely one of those meals where my eyes get bigger than my stomach; there's so many once-a-year favorites on the table and I want it all. But there's one traditional Thanksgiving food that I don't think I've ever fully appreciated until recently: the humble sweet potato.

"Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A, fiber, vitamin C, thiamine, and riboflavin," says registered dietitian Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, on the latest episode of You Versus Food. The fiber in sweet potatoes makes it such a gut-healthy win, definitely doing your digestive system a holiday meal favor. If you want to make your Thanksgiving sweet potatoes packed with even more benefits, Beckerman says to season them with cinnamon, which helps lower inflammation and keeps blood sugar levels steady.

Obviously, sweet potatoes are a Thanksgiving classic. But if all of its health benefits have convinced you to give it a starring role on your table this year, here are some sweet potato recipe ideas perfect for Turkey Day (and beyond). Meanwhile, watch the full video above to get Beckerman's insight on other Thanksgiving foods—including how to get more veggies on your plate.

5 sweet potato recipe ideas to reap the health benefits at Thanksgiving and beyond:

1. Sweet potato gnocchi

This recipe comes courtesy of The Well+Good Cookbook and was created by Charley St owner and chef Dan Churchill. "It's very hands-on and you can make it by yourself or with someone you want to spend the afternoon with," Churchill says. That's what Thanksgiving is all about, right? The end result is so flavorful that all your need is a little olive oil, salt, and pepper on top for seasoning.

Get the recipe: Sweet potato gnocchi

2. Sweet potato soup

This creamy—vegan!—soup is the perfect Thanksgiving app and only takes six simple ingredients to make. Easy dishes are always a holiday win.

Get the recipe: Sweet potato soup

3. Instant Pot sweet potatoes

If you're a traditionalist and want to serve up the sweet taters in their full, glorious form, these instructions for how to cook them using your Instant Pot will be a holiday lifesaver. Not only does it cut down on time, but it also frees up the oven for the rest of the holiday cooking.

Get the recipe: Instant Pot sweet potatoes 

4. Sweet potato pie

Where would we be in sharing sweet potato recipe ideas without including a sweet potato pie option? This Thanksgiving dessert has all of the sweetness you want from a holiday pie with none of the sugar crash. Bonus: The crust is gluten-free, too.

5. Sweet potato pecan pie

Another way to have your sweet potatoes for dessert is making a sweet potato/pecan pie hybrid. "Pecans are heart-healthy nuts, rich in antioxidants, protein, and fiber—and contain about two-thirds of your daily recommended manganese," Beckerman says.

Get the recipe: Sweet potato pecan pie

For more cooking tips, join Well+Good's Cook With Us Facebook group.

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