Studly Spuds

Packed with Vitamin A, calorie-burning sweet potatoes are having a moment.

Looking to get glowing skin, ease sore muscles and burn more fat? Don't underestimate the nutrient-rich sweet potato, which hits local farmers markets in abundance this month.

Whoever said carbs were evil never tried the bright orange tuber (or, worse, still associates it with marshmallow-laden dishes at Thanksgiving). Think of sweet potatoes as nature’s exfoliant; they’re plentiful in vitamin A, the antioxidant responsible for producing new skin cells and shedding worn ones and defending the body against free radicals that may lead to wrinkles.

But the root vegetables' benefits are more than skin deep: Sweet potatoes are full of potassium, which can help repair and replenish sore muscles after a workout. They’re also a powerful source of resistant starch, a unique fiber that “resists” digestion in the body and helps increase calorie burn. One study found that replacing just 5.4% of total carbohydrate intake with resistant starch created a 20-30% increase in fat burning after a meal. 

Try this fast and filling dinner recipe for a new twist on this month's superfood.

Sweet Potato and Chicken-Sausage Bake
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 precooked, all-natural chicken sausage cut into 1-inch pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1/3 c. cauliflower florets

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly coat a small baking dish with canola or olive oil cooking spray.

2. Combine sweet potato and chicken sausage in a medium bowl. Toss with minced garlic, chopped oregano, and oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

3. Place potato mixture in the prepared dish and bake 30 minutes. Stir in cauliflower and bake 10 to 15 more minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Nationally recognized nutrition expert and author Keri Glassman (@KeriGlassman) is the founder and president of Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice based in New York City.