There's nothing better than a big plate of pasta, but it's not exactly the best thing for your waistline. Compared to processed pasta, sweet potatoes are whole foods packed with nutrition. While the noodles don't quite have the texture of wheat pasta, with the right sauce it's hard to tell the difference. Topped with pesto, marinara or a low-fat Alfredo, sweet potato noodles' nutrition turns pasta into a guilt-free meal.
Calories, Carbs, Protein and Fats
One serving of sweet potato noodles is typically equivalent to one-half of a medium potato. A serving of this size contains 115 calories, 2 grams of protein, 27 grams of carbs and only .2 grams of fat. Gram for gram, sweet potato noodle calories are much lower than a similar-size serving of whole wheat pasta, which has 225 calories. If you're watching your weight, they'll help you curb your calorie intake.
While lower in protein than wheat pasta, sweet potato noodles still provide 2 grams per serving, which is 4 percent of the daily value (DV) for protein. Pairing them with a lean protein like chicken breast or beans will help increase the protein content of your meal.
Sweet potatoes are a rich source of carbohydrates, which provide energy. With 27 grams per serving, sweet potato noodles aren't a low-carb food, but they're considerably lower in carbs than wheat pasta with 45 grams.
A little more than half the carb content in sweet potatoes comes from starch; natural sugars comprise almost 9 grams, and fiber makes up 4 grams. Fiber is important for healthy digestion and cholesterol levels, and it helps the sugars absorb more slowly for a steady source of energy.
Vitamins, Minerals and Antioxidants
Sweet potatoes are an especially rich source of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin crucial for healthy vision and for the development and maintenance of the heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs. One serving of sweet potato noodles provides 475 percent of the DV for vitamin A.
One serving also provides one-third of the DV for vitamin C, an antioxidant vitamin necessary for the synthesis of collagen, which makes up connective tissue and is necessary for proper wound healing. Vitamin C also supports immune function and aids in the absorption of the mineral iron.
With 347 mg of potassium, a serving of sweet potato noodles provides about 7 percent of your daily needs for this mineral. An electrolyte mineral, potassium plays a crucial role in balancing sodium in the blood and helps with proper nerve and muscle function.
Healthy Sweet Potato Noodle Recipes
Keep your sweet potato noodle dish healthy by avoiding ingredients high in saturated fats and sodium. Topping your noodles with a low-sodium marinara sauce with chopped veggies, herbs and spices increases the nutritional value of your meal and keeps the calorie content low.
You can also try a homemade pesto with olive oil, basil, walnuts and a little bit of Parmesan for a meal rich in healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These fats, when eaten in place of saturated fats from meat and dairy, can lower your unhealthy LDL cholesterol and raise your healthy HDL cholesterol.
Read more: Sweet Potatoes and Weight Loss
- USDA: Basic Report: 11510, Sweet potato, cooked, boiled, without skin
- Netrition: Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling
- USDA: Basic Report: 20125, Pasta, whole-wheat, cooked (Includes foods for USDA's Food Distribution Program)
- NIH: Vitamin A
- NIH: Vitamin C
- NIH: Potassium
- Heart Foundation: Healthy fat choices