Recipe Makeovers Recipes Vegetables — 19 November 2009

By: Jodie Shield, RD

Small Changes = Big Nutrition Difference!

Marilyn Collins of Flossmoor, IL makes this sweet potato favorite every Thanksgiving.  She said it’s the perfect holiday side dish because you prepare the recipe the day before all the way until the last step.  Thanksgiving Day she pops them in the oven while the turkey is being carved and then serves them piping hot with the rest of the meal.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

(Makes 4 servings)


4 medium-sized sweet potatoes

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons butter

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 375 F.  Bake sweet potatoes for 45 minutes or until they are soft.  When the sweet potatoes are cool to the touch, cut a small circle in the center of each.   Hull out most of the potato, leaving the skin intact so you’ll have a firm shell.

Place the insides of the sweet potatoes into a large bowl.  Add the maple syrup, butter, salt and nutmeg, then mash until smooth.  Scoop the sweet potato mixture back in to the shells, top with chopped pecans and bake at 325 F for 20 minutes.

Calories 275 Dietary Fiber 5 g Fat 16 g
Protein 4 g Sodium 624 mg Saturated Fat 5 g
Carbohydrate 32 g Cholesterol 15 mg

Tips to Lighten up Marilyn’s Family Recipe:

  1.  Reduce the butter to 1 tablespoon.
  2. Omit the salt – you get plenty from the pecans.
  3. Cut the pecan quantity in half – it’s only used as a topping so sprinkle 1 tablespoon over each stuffed sweet potato.

By making these three small changes the recipe still tastes fantastic but has half the fat, about 25% fewer calories and a dramatic sodium reduction.

Calories 203 Dietary Fiber 5 g Fat 8 g
Protein 3 g Sodium 42 mg Saturated Fat 2.5 g
Carbohydrate 31 g Cholesterol 8 mg

If you have a family favorite recipe you would like analyzed and revised, please send it to:

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