3 Sweet Potato Recipes to Fuel Your Recovery

Sweet potatoes. Love them or hate them-they are a perfect food for a Soccerista!

 A superfood packed with vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates which are key for before training fuel or after training recovery. One medium sweet potato contains vitamin A (over 400% daily recommended intake), integral in eye health and immunity. They also have high levels of vitamin C, known for immune support. Sweet potatoes provide iron, an essential component to sustaining energy, as well as potassium and magnesium, which play a role in healthy muscle and nerve function. Don’t forget to put a little salt on the skin and eat it to get in your fiber!

Carbohydrates get a bad reputation in diet culture. As an athlete, it’s important to make sure you don’t cut back on carbs. This could directly affect your levels of performance and body’s ability to recover. Carbohydrates turn into glycogen which is a major energy source for muscle contraction. As a complex carbohydrate with a lower glycemic index,  sweet potatoes digest at a slower rate replenishing and sustaining energy for a longer period of time than foods like white rice, white bread and other processed carbohydrates. The ideal carb to protein ratio for post workout recovery is four to one.  

Sweet potatoes are a quick healthy snack on their own if you’re on the go, as well as, beneficial when paired with a complete meal: protein, carb, and healthy fat. 

Here are three methods in which you can prepare sweet potatoes to fuel your recovery:

  1. Homemade Sweet Potato Fries: Chop sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, then into slices that look like fries. Place in a big bowl. Drizzle with a healthy oil (avocado, olive, or grapeseed), sprinkle with salt (my preference is pink himalayan sea salt), toss, and spread out onto a baking sheet.  Bake at 425 degrees for 18-25 minutes or until slightly crispy. These can be done in a full size oven or convection/conventional oven. Delicious every time!
  2. Whole Baked Sweet Potato: Wash and dry whole sweet potatoes. Poke holes into potatoes with a fork for quicker cook time. Place potatoes on a lined baking sheet-they ooze. Bake at 425 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until tender. To check if your sweet potato is done, stick a fork through the thickest part and if there is no resistance, it’s done! Split open and add some butter with salt and pepper optional. Tastes like candy!
  3. Sweet Potato Chili: This recipe from Delish is THE PERFECT way to help your body recover. It’s simple and delicious. The perfect combination of protein and sweet potato carbohydrate goodness! However, I substitute the Italian sausage for ground turkey or grass fed beef. Vegan? Use vegan “meat” crumbles. 

Sweet potatoes are one of the most underrated foods. Packed with nutrients and taste.  As a Soccerista, your body needs all sweet potatoes have to offer for performance and recovery. Here are some recipes that are honorable mentions:  sweet potato pancakes, roasted veggies with sweet potato, sweet potato smoothies, and sweet potato baked egg cups.  Make substitutions based on your personal preference and ENJOY!  

Feature photo via Adobe Stock @suehana


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