You’ve heard that sweet potatoes are pretty healthy, but your kids refuse to eat them. How do you get your kids to eat more sweet potatoes?
Well, for the month of May, I’m doing a series on how to get your kids to eat more veggies. The first week we looked at Cauliflower, last week was Zucchini, and this week we’re looking at Sweet Potatoes.
Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes?
So how healthy are sweet potatoes? Well, it turns out they’re actually packed full of nutrients (I might add the to the menu more often myself!).
For starters, a small sweet potato has over 1/4 of your kids’ daily fibre needs. Fibre is one of the most important nutrients, because it helps your body get rid of anything it doesn’t need (and keeps you regular!). Fibre has also been found to protect against some cancers like bowel cancer.
Next up, their bright orange colour makes sweet potatoes great sources of vitamin A and beta carotene (which are kinda actually the same thing…. But I won’t go into the biochemistry of it here…). Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes, healthy reproduction systems, and our immune system. One small sweet potato has over half of your kids daily vitamin A needs. Super handy!
Sweet potatoes are also an amazing source of vitamin C. One small sweet potato has double your kids’ daily needs. Vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system, and for absorption of iron.
Finally, sweet potatoes are also surprisingly good sources of the ever important minerals, zinc and iron. I’m sure you’ve heard of these plenty of times as a vegan. A small sweet potato gives your kids nearly 1/4 of their daily zinc needs, and 1/10 of their daily iron.
Not bad for a single potato!
Tips to Get Your Kids to Eat More Sweet Potato
So now that we know how amazing sweet potatoes are, how do we get our kids to eat more of them?
Roast It: If your kids aren’t going to flat out refuse to eat it because it’s a vegetable, then roasting sweet potato is a great way to get them to eat it. Veggies are much sweeter when they’re roasted, which definitely appeals to kids’ sweet loving palates.
Grate It: Kids too fussy and you need a more stealth approach? Grate it up and add it to whatever you’re cooking. Grated sweet potato will add a mildly sweet flavour to curries, stews, mince. You can put it in anything with a sauce. (Grate it raw, you’ll just end up with mush if you grate it after it’s cooked…).
Mix It in With White Potato: Kids love their mash? Add some sweet potato to it. Or just plain use mashed sweet potato wherever you’d use mashed white potato. Sweet Potato Mash also makes a great Vegan Shepherds Pie Topper.
Mash It: And add it to your baking. Mashed sweet potato is a great binder for muffins, patties, fritters and breads. It does make your baking quite dense, so don’t use it in anything you want light and fluffy – Let’s just say Sweet Potato Sponge Cake probably won’t be the next best thing….
Freeze It: Cook small pieces of sweet potato (roast or steam) and freeze them, then pop them into your kids’ smoothies. Sweet potato makes a great banana replacement.
Recipes with Sweet Potato
My kids’ favourite recipe for sweet potato (and one of their favourites in general) is my Super Veg Smoothie. I came up with this smoothie when my first child was on food strike. I made it for him each morning, and I knew that if he at least drank the smoothie, then it didn’t really matter what else he had each day. And yep, it uses frozen sweet potato as a veggie boost.
These Sweet Potato Chocolate Muffins are a great way to get your kids to eat more sweet potato, without them having any idea that they are…. The sweet potato makes them fudgy, and taste a lot like Chocolate Brownies.
Roasted Sweet Potato makes this Hummus nice and sweet, which has a double bonus of getting your kids to eat Sweet Potato, and getting fussier kids to eat Hummus.
Although the recipe uses pumpkin, you can also use sweet potato in my Creamy Korma recipe. This curry isn’t very spicy, so it’s a great way to introduce your kids to Indian curries.
And finally, you can use Sweet Potato in my Creamy Risotto recipe, in place of the pumpkin.
Grab my guide below for everything you need to know about the top 5 nutrients for healthy vegan kids.