Note: I always call them sweet potatoes, but in the Unites States, they are typically sold as "Yams." Though they are typically called, "yams," they are not true yams which are typically only found in tropical regions. Confused? Read more here.
For much of my life, I thought that I didn't like sweet potatoes. I had only ever had them at Thanksgiving. They were canned, sweetened, and had marshmallows on top. Every attempt had been made to make them appealing, and to me, they weren't. I assumed that if I didn't like them this way, I wouldn't like them any way!
Then, 8 years ago, I was put on an elimination diet. One of the few foods I was allowed to have was sweet potatoes. Since sugar was definitely not on the allowed food lists, I tried sweet potatoes in a variety of savory ways, and I have loved them ever since.
I've used sweet potatoes in a variety of ways: soup, sweet potato pancakes, mashed, baked, and even in sloppy joes.
Sweet potatoes make a great "first food" for babies. As babies, my kids weren't huge fans of pureed sweet potatoes (and they still don't really like mashed sweet potatoes), but as soon as they could handle finger foods, I gave them baked sweet potatoes cut in cubes or sweet potato fries.
Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin A and Vitamin C, and despite their sweetness, they are actually good for balancing blood sugar! Since Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, you will get the most benefit from them if you serve them with butter or oil (olive or coconut.)
By far, my favorite way to eat sweet potatoes is sweet potato fries! I was first introduced to sweet potato fries through Alexia frozen sweet potato fries... but now, I typically make my own.
I slice them by hand (I'm looking for a solution to this because it does take a long time!) I then toss them with olive oil and season salt or garlic salt. This evening my husband made them with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and I must say that I think this may be my new favorite way to eat them! I cook them at 425 degrees on a cookie sheet for about 15-20 minutes turn them and then cook for approximately 10 minutes more.
If you don't think you kids will eat sweet potatoes, try "Scaffolding," your fries.
*If your kids will only eat fast food, or prepackaged frozen fries, start by introducing them to different frozen varieties and shapes. If you usually fry them, try baking them. If you think that they will even be resistant to this change, try Ore-Ida potato smiles, they bake up crispy and the smiles make them fun!
*Next try making your own homemade fries from regular white potatoes. Rachel Ray has a great recipe for making them crispy (you'll likely want to just stick to salt for your seasoning.)
*Continue to make homemade fries, but start incorporating some sweet potatoes in with the regular fries. Start small (perhaps 1/4 sweet potato fries.) If your kids are skipping the sweet potato fries in favor of the regular fries, encourage them to eat "just one," each time. Perhaps only even put one sweet potato fry on their plate. (If you can find them, you could start with white sweet potatoes.)
*Continue to increase the ratio of sweet potatoes to white potatoes.
**You may be surprised, my kids actually prefer sweet potato fries to white potato fries!
How do you serve sweet potatoes? I'd love to hear your ideas and recipes in the comments!