I am a rice lover. Yes you heard me! Give me rice 24/7, 365 days a year and I am good. Rice is a staple food in most African homes. West Africans love every rice dish from “njanga” to fried rice, jellow or rice and stew, any dish that has rice in it is a favorite for me. Is it just me? My love for rice is not the big deal. My issue is, I am never satisfied with just one plate, I always go for seconds knowing well that rice is a high calorie dish, doesn’t matter if it is whole grain or processed rice.
Though I have switched to eating whole grain only, I must confess I still find it hard to control myself infront of a plate of rice. Many people and even nutritionist say if a dish makes you lose control, avoid it! That’s one piece of advice that does not work for me and I know from working with clients that it does not work for a vast majority of persons trying to lose or control their weight.
A diet that requires that you completely restrict yourself of the foods you love could certainly help you lose some pounds but the moment you include those foods into your diet once again, you tend to overindulge leading to the popular Jojo-effect (a process of losing some weight and gaining more weight thereafter) you indulge all over again. It’s more of a psychological thing!
My advice to my clients is always the same: Rather than completely avoiding particular foods, it is best you find healthier ways of including them into our diets.
With that piece of advice in mind, I created a recipe that could mimick the chewy feel of rice. I wanted a meal that would send a message to my head saying looks like rice, tastes like rice. So I created sweet potato rice. I choose sweet potatoes because they are often considered healthier than the yams and regular potatoes since the calories and salt content of regular potatoes increase when they are fried. This does not happen with sweet potatoes. Also, the varying colors (yellow, purple and orange) of sweet potatoes indicate the presence of antioxidants, another reason why they are superior to yams and regular potatoes and should be eaten more often.
Another reason for choosing sweet potatoes was because research show that they are a low-glycemic index (GI) food, that is, they release glucose very slowly into the bloodstream and benefit the pancreas by not overworking it and make you feel satiated longer. Also, sweet potatoes can help regulate blood sugar because of their ability to raise blood levels of adiponectin, a protein hormone created by your fat cells, to help regulate how your body metabolizes insulin.
To creat this dish, simply blend sweet potatoes in a food processor then soak it in hot water for a minute and then add a few drops of extra virgin olive oil.
Although it cannot completely replace rice, it can be combined with small amounts of rice during meals so that we do not completely scratch it from our meal plan. The same can be achieved with brokkoli as can be seen in the picture below.
SmartCooks Tip: Make rice from your favorite vegetable, combine it with a small quantity of rice to reduce cravings.
Combine sweet potato rice with a small portion of rice and eat with tomato stew or eat it on its own. Anyway you chose to have it, zeeliciousness is guaranteed.
Happy and healthy eating xoxo