✿ Sweet Potaotes for Protein?
Protein is an essential macronutrient that builds lean muscle tissue, supports neurological function, provides energy and plays a role in many other body functions. You'll get a small amount of protein from cooked sweet potatoes, but pairing them with other protein-rich foods further boosts your protein intake. Sweet potatoes are a healthy starch option for any entree, because they are relatively low in calories, packed with fiber, and loaded with minerals and vitamins.
Sweet potatoes are nearly fat-free with less than 1 gram of fat per potato. To maximize the absorption of beta-carotene, which is abundant in sweet potatoes, include another source of fat with the meal. A tablespoon of butter added to a sweet potato provides a sufficient amount of fat to aid in beta-carotene absorption.
One 4-ounce sweet potato provides nearly 2 grams of protein. This amount of cooked sweet potato offers a minimal 110 calories and approximately 7 percent of the caloric content comes from protein. The remaining calories come from carbohydrates, with a trace amount of fat. Between 10 and 35 percent of your total calories need to come from protein. As an example, if you usually stick to a 2,200-calorie diet, you need 55 to 192 grams of daily protein, depending on your activity level and caloric needs.
Animal proteins like meat, eggs, dairy, fish and seafood, are sources of complete proteins that have all of the essential amino acids. Although sweet potatoes add some protein to your diet, plant-based protein foods are incomplete. This means that they do not provide all of the more than 20 essential amino acids your body needs on a daily basis. If you do not eat animal-based protein foods, it is important to consume a variety of plant proteins. You do not need to have several different plant-based protein foods in the same meal; rather, fill your diet with several different types throughout the day.
What Protein to Serve With Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Boosting the protein content of sweet potatoes is easier than you may think. Pair your sweet potato with brown rice, which offers about 2 grams of protein per one-third cup cooked portion. Mash sweet potatoes with silken tofu to get even more essential amino acids from the same meal. Adding 1 ounce of silken tofu to 4 ounces of mashed sweet potato adds about an additional 2 grams of protein to your side dish. (If you enjoy a crunchy component in your foods, top a baked sweet potato or side of mashed sweet potato with finely chopped walnuts, which contain 2 grams of protein per .5 ounce.
Gnocchi, Italian dumplings, are traditionally made from white potatoes and flour. Sweet potatoes can be substituted to boost the nutritional value and give the gnocchi a different flavor. Sweet potato gnocchi is traditionally a vegetarian dish served with a brown butter sauce. If you are serving sweet potato gnocchi as a main dish, you may want to add a few ingredients to boost the protein content. Either chopped walnuts or pecans or grated Parmesan nicely complement the slightly sweet flavor of the gnocchi.