The hearty root vegetable is in season in the fall and winter and has a naturally sweet flavor and loads of nutritional benefits. But one notable yet lesser-known benefit of sweet potatoes is improved gut health.
"Sweet potatoes offer fiber, which is helpful to the gut in many ways," plant-based dietitian Amy Gorin, RDN and owner of Plant-Based Eats says. "This includes helping to get things moving through your digestive system and bulking up your stool to prevent constipation."
One medium sweet potato has 103 calories and has nearly 4 grams of gut-healthy fiber, according to the USDA. To help inspire you to add this winter starch to your meal plan, we rounded up five easy-to-follow sweet potato dessert recipes, from maple-infused cookies to churro-like sweet fries.
1. Sea Salt and Sweet Potato Brownies
When you find a dessert that has 6 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein, you won't feel like you're breaking your healthy eating plan to indulge. Adding dates doubles as a healthy sweetener and a great source of digestion-helping fiber, Gorin says. And cacao powder provides healthy antioxidants — just make sure you're buying one that's unsweetened to reap the most benefits.
Get the Sea Salt and Sweet Potato Brownies recipe and nutrition info here.
You know a cookie is healthy and delicious when it can be enjoyed for both breakfast and dessert. "In addition to the sweet potatoes, oats and pecans also provide fiber," Gorin says. You can also choose to sprinkle in additional superfoods such as chia seeds or hemp seeds to boost nutrients without altering the flavor.
Get the Sweet Potato Maple Pecan Breakfast Cookies recipe and nutrition info here.
3. Warm Sweet Potato Pudding In a Jar
Think of this warm pudding as a lightened-up sweet potato pie with whipped cream — except it's served in a jar, which already gives this dessert major brownie points. "This recipe uses natural sweeteners like cinnamon and nutmeg to keep the overall added sugar content to a minimum," Gorin says. Top this rich pudding with a tablespoon of mascarpone cheese and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
Get the Warm Sweet Potato Pudding In a Jar recipe and nutrition info here.
4. Low-Sugar Sweet Potato Chocolate Frosting
This two-ingredient frosting is sure to become a new favorite. "You get added sugar from the chocolate and a little bit of fiber from the sweet potato," Gorin says. Pipe it over your go-to cupcake, cookie or cake recipe... or just eat it straight out of the bowl (we're not judging). Plus, this Low-Sugar Sweet Potato Chocolate Frosting can easily be made gluten- and dairy-free, depending on the chocolate chips you opt for.
Get the Low-Sugar Sweet Potato Chocolate Frosting recipe and nutrition info here.
5. Cinnamon Coconut Sugar Fries
If you're looking for a sweet treat with minimal ingredients, these Cinnamon Coconut Sugar Fries are a must-try. This dessert packs 3 grams of fiber, which is beneficial for healthy digestion, Gorin tells us. And using coconut sugar instead of table sugar adds some trace minerals, such as iron and potassium, to the recipe while cinnamon helps to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Get the Cinnamon Coconut Sugar Fries recipe and nutrition info here.