Posted on July 7, 2014 by Jennifer Lilley
While I was losing weight some seven years ago (and even once I’d gotten to my goal weight), the thought of eating carbs was practically enough to make me hide under the covers and stay there all day. Carbs? Keep them far away, I’d think, mentally giving them the overlapped finger gesture that’s thought to ward off evil.
Offers of breads, pastas, potatoes or anything that even sounded “carby” led to an immediate, “oh, no thank you” response wherever I went. The notion of eating them was, in my mind, akin to eating candy bars and bacon; carbs were wicked, pure and simple. Avoidance of them was a surefire way to keep maintaining my 70 pound weight loss.
Don’t fret! Carbs are not the enemy
Of course, I know better these days. My cabinets include a range of carbs, from grains like quinoa and freekeh to whole wheat pastas and spinach wraps.
So, my message is this: don’t fret. Carbs are NOT synonymous with weight gain. No matter where you are on your weight loss journey (trust me, even after reaching goal, even two or five years later, it’s an ongoing journey), know this: carbs, albeit the right ones, are OK. In fact, the right ones can even help with weight loss and maintenance.
In my newfound enjoyment of healthy carbs, as I’ve transitioned from avoiding them like the plague to incorporating them in my daily diet through the years, I discovered a recipe on Shape.com that includes sweet potatoes. In a previous life, I would have run. Sweet potatoes? No thank you.
But that was then.
I happily made the recipe recently and am addicted. I’ve made it almost every day now, enjoying my own variations of it for breakfast. It’s super healthy, tasty and an incredibly easy way to help with weight loss and maintenance.
Weight loss and heath benefits of the sweet potato smoothie
Turns out, sweet potatoes have a high fiber and water content which is great for the body anyway, but when it comes to controlling weight, they help provide a feeling of fullness that keeps overeating at bay (1).
Additionally, sweet potatoes have a low-glycemic index which plays a role in preventing spikes in blood sugar levels. Irregular blood sugar levels have been linked to increased belly fat (2).
Not only can they help with weight loss and maintenance, but according to The World’s Healthiest Foods web site (one of my favorites), they’re rich in antioxidants, B-vitamins, and are a wonderful source of vitamin A (3).
What’s not to love about sweet potatoes?
The sweet potato peach smoothie recipe
Here’s the 4-serving recipe from Candice Kumai that appeared on Shape.com. Kumai has authored several cookbooks including Clean Green Drinks (from which this recipe was adapted from) and Cook Yourself Thin.
2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/2 frozen banana
3/4 cup sweet potato puree or steamed sweet potatoes
3 cups frozen organic peaches
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup (1 scoop) protein powder (optional)
Put ingredients in a blender and mix to desired taste.
Don’t forget to experiment! Since making this recipe, I’ve tried swapping out some ingredients with other favorites of mine such as adding cacao powder and mangos (instead of the bananas and peaches it calls for). Delicious!
I've also made a hearty, healthy breakfast based on this recipe that included adding oats and mango with the sweet potato instead of the banana and peach. I also added in some chia seeds and raw honey. Mmm!
Here’s to eating healthy carbs.
Sources for this article include:
Jennifer Lea Reynolds
Jennifer Lea Reynolds is a weight loss success story who enjoys living a healthy lifestyle. A fan of the elliptical, roasted asparagus and remembering to put the lid on the blender, she’s appeared in many national and local print publications. She lives in New England where she writes professionally about health and wellness in online publications including U.S. News & World Report, Reader's Digest, Woman's Day, The Huffington Post, and more.