While dining out recently, a server described a dish as plant forward. I knew what he meant even though that phrase has no specific meaning. It sounds better than saying the dish has lots of vegetables.
Another phrase that I have used is “a plant-based food intake.” Again, no specific regulated meaning but we can agree that it means the majority of the food eaten was grown in soil or water. If three quarters or more of a plate is beans, rice or vegetables with a smaller amount of fish, chicken or meat that would be a plant-based meal.
But plant-based does not mean vegetarian.
Plant based is more than fruits and vegetables. Nuts, seeds, grains and potatoes, both white and sweet, are plants.
I have sweet potatoes on my mind for two reasons. One is that I learned sweet potatoes could be correctly spelled as one word. That is dietitian trivia of the first degree. (Editor’s note: While sweet potato is viewed as one word by dietitians, it is two words according to AP Style.)
And watching the fantastic Netflix series “High on the Hog” I saw the dramatic difference between yams and sweet potatoes. Yams are huge, not sweet and resemble yucca in texture. Sweet potatoes are smaller, thinner skinned and sweet. Sweet potatoes are abundant at the store, yams not so much.
Sweet potatoes are super nutritious. One medium sweet potato provides way over 100% of your daily vitamin A requirement. Add a bit of olive oil or another fat for better absorption.
That same medium sweet potato helps control blood pressure by providing 12% of recommended potassium. Four grams of fiber, and vitamins C, B6 and magnesium are in every serving. A sweet potato is a complex carbohydrate so no spiking of blood sugar levels. The calories for a medium sweet potato baked in the skin are about 100.
I’ve been coasting with sweet potato fries in my air fryer but it is time to expand. Delicious recipes and more sweet potato trivia are available at www.ncsweetpotatoes.com Next up for me is BBQ Apple Turkey Sliders with sweet potatoes.
Sheah Rarback MS, RDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist in private practice in Miami. email@example.com