Fall Flavors with Ileana Vargas, MD, MS

Ileana Vargas, MD, MS is passionate about educating her patients with diabetes about making smart food choices. She helps them understand the relationship between food and blood sugar regulation. 

In addition to being a pediatric endocrinologist at the Berrie Center, Dr. Vargas has a Master’s in Nutrition from Columbia University’s Institute of Human Nutrition and is currently enrolled in a Culinary Medicine Specialist Certification Program. 

Dr. Vargas brings the flavors of the fall to your kitchen with a couple of easy, go-to recipes. These recipes are affordable, nutrient dense, and delicious to eat. Look for new recipes every month from Dr. Vargas!

This month we have: Sweet Potato Fries and Avocado Toast. These delicious recipes can be enjoyed at any time of day! 

Dr. Vargas selected these recipes for multiple reasons. First, she said, avocados are creamy, high in fiber, and “have the good omega 3 fatty acids found in salmon while being plant based.” 

Next, the sweet potato is a popular tuber that is nutritious, very filling, high in fiber and most importantly has a delicious sweet flavor. It’s rich in an antioxidant called beta carotene, which is very effective at raising blood levels of vitamin A, particularly in children. It is also a rich source of vitamin C and potassium. 

Cooked sweet potatoes are relatively high in fiber, medium-sized sweet potato contains about 3-4 grams. The fibers are both soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers, may increase fullness, decrease food intake, and reduce blood sugar spikes by slowing your digestion of sugars and starches. A high intake of insoluble fibers has been associated with health benefits, such as improved gut health. 

Sweet potatoes are a better choice than regular potatoes, said Dr. Vargas. “They have a lower Glycemic Index, more fiber, and large amounts of beta carotene not found in regular potatoes.”

“Overall, sweet potatoes are nutritious, cheap, and easy to incorporate into your diet,” said Dr. Vargas.