We probably don't need to preach about the health benefits of sweet potatoes when you're dieting or on a meal plan.

The sweet potato is always a great staple food for people when it comes to choosing a healthy carbohydrate source that won't have a negative impact on your progress.

But whether you've been given an eating plan by your trainer containing sweet potatoes, or you're looking to get to grips with meal prep, it's always good to have some tricks up your sleeve to keep your meals interesting and tasty

So we've put together five seriously simple and delicious ways to get sweet potato into your diet.

There are a variety of ways to cook sweet potatoes, from baking to boiling, however they can take a while to cook so it’s a great idea to cook a batch which can keep in the fridge for up to three days at a time.

Whether you peel and dice them for mashed potato, or you simply bake them in the skins, there’s no need for sweet potatoes to take up all of your prep time. If you really need to cheat the clock, you can pierce a whole sweet potato and microwave for five or six minutes to help to speed up the cooking process before finishing them in the oven.

1. Sweet Potato Fries

Perfect sweet potato fries can be (but don’t need to be) tricky. Soggy sweet potato fries are always a disappointment and crispy but burnt aren’t particularly appealing either. I tested out several different cooking times and methods to find out what makes the perfect sweet potato chip. The method is simple and if you follow it correctly I can guarantee you’ll have great sweet potato chips.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato cut into chips.
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper

Method:

  1. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil.
  2. Add your chips and par-boil for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Drain and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  5. Lay your chips on a baking tray and drizzle over 1 tsp of olive oil,
  6. Season with a little salt and pepper and bake for 35 minutes.
  7. Half-way through cooking, give your fries a shake and move them around.
  8. Remove from the oven and season.

2. Sweet Potato Wedges

with Garlic Yoghurt Dip

Ingredients:

  • 150g sweet potatoes, washed
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil/ 5 sprays of 1cal spray
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Garlic Yoghurt:

  • Greek yoghurt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Sprig of parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Slice the sweet potato into wedges, leaving the skin on.
  2. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, and par-boil your wedges for 5 minutes. 
  3. Pat the potatoes dry and transfer to a bowl.
  4. Pour over the melted coconut oil to cover the wedges, and sprinkle over the salt and pepper.
  5. Mix together the dry herbs and spices and sprinkle over the bowl of fries.
  6. Shake the bowl to ensure the wedges are covered and then roast in the oven at 200C for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool for five minutes before serving.

Serving suggestion: Delicious with a grilled steak and vegetables, or even with a fresh guacamole dip.

3. Garlic and Thyme Crispy Dice

Ingredients:

  • 150g sweet potato
  • 2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp oregano or rosemary
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp melted coconut oil

Method:

  1. Peel and dice the sweet potato into small cubes.
  2. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, and par-boil for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Drain the potatoes, pat dry and add to a bowl.
  4. Add the coconut oil, salt, pepper and herbs to the bowl and mix well to coat the dice.
  5. Heat a pan or skillet and add the balsamic vinegar.
  6. As the vinegar starts to bubble, add the dice to the pan and fry for 5-8 minutes until the sides are brown and a little crisp.

Serving suggestion: with Italian Lemon Chicken and Green Beans.

4. Sweet Potato Mustard Mash

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1/2 clove of garlic, minced
  • 10g chopped chives
  • Pinch of Himalayan sea salt
  • Pinch of cracked black pepper

Method:

  1. Peel and dice the sweet potatoes.
  2. Bring a pan of water the boil and add the potatoes.
  3. Boil for 7-10 minutes, until your potatoes are soft when poked with a knife.
  4. Drain off and add to a mixing bowl.
  5. Mash the potatoes together with the rest of the ingredients and serve.

5. Spiralised Sweet Potato

'Spaghetti'

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 finely sliced spring onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of sea salt and black pepper

Method:

  1. Spiralise the sweet potato using the spiraliser.
  2. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, then add the sweet potato for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Remove from the water and submerge in a bowl of cold water. This technique is known as 'blanching' and it prevents the sweet potato for over-cooking.
  4. In a pan, add the coconut oil and gently fry the garlic together with the herbs. Don't burn the garlic or it will taste bitter.
  5. Drain the sweet potato noodles and add to the pan to heat back up with the spring onion. Add the lemon juice to the pan and cook for a further two minutes.
  6. Remove from the pan and drizzle with the olive oil.
  7. Sprinkle over the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.

Serving suggestion: This makes a great side for a spicy chicken breast or you could pair it with a healthy, lean beef Ragu. You could even stir through some roasted Mediterranean vegetables for a quick and nutritious vegan meal.

If you would like to find out more about UP's personal training and nutrition plans to get you in the best shape of your life, simply enquire with us below…