What's the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the word sweet potato? For me, it's definitely fries. It's how I learned to eat this root veggie, and it's undoubtedly a delicious way of doing so. I mean, is there anything better than dunking a crispy sweet potato wedge into a fresh bowl of guac? (Don't knock it till you try it).

Sweet potatoes are an incredibly nutritious staple to have in our diets. They're a complex carbohydrate, full of fiber (which will help keep us full and help balance our blood sugars), and are loaded with nutrients. That bright orange color isn't there for no reason! Beta-carotene is abundantly present, along with vitamin C, magnesium, iron, zinc, and B-vitamins. 

Thankfully, there are millions of ways to start eating sweet potatoes. Just because it's a "potato", that does not mean we have to put it into a deep fryer and dip it in ketchup. You'd be surprised at how deliciously easy it is to incorporate this veggie in ways far more fun than eating them as fries. 

1. Sweet Potato Bread

Banana bread is a common household baked good -- it's sweet, fluffy, and tastes super great when slathered with almond butter. Did you know you could add sweet potatoes into your fave banana bread recipe, and get an equally delicious, sweet, and decadent bread? It's a great way to add nutrients without sacrificing the flavor of your favorite dessert. Add chocolate chips to the mix -- I won't tell you how good it tastes. You be the judge of that.

2. Sweet Potato Smoothie

Smoothies are a great way to pack a bunch of nutrients in one container, and they're perfect for on-the-go, quick mornings. Eating veggies and fruits in their whole form will always be more satisfying and filling, but when you need to leave your house stat and want a sweet breakfast option, it's never a bad idea to chuck your favorite things into a blender and call it a morning. (As long as you're not overdoing it on the sugar.) Adding sweet potatoes to the mix will make you feel as if you're drinking a sweet milkshake, without all of the added sugar. Plus, the fiber will actually help everything get digested slowly, keeping you full for longer! 

3. Sweet Potato Toast

I love switching up the way I toast to keep my breakfast fun and interesting. Sometimes I use good old whole grain bread, and sometimes I opt for delicious waffles. But, the biggest toast game changer has definitely been sweet potatoes. You can slice them thinly, roast them, and toss them in a toaster and get a delicious base for your favorite toppings. Favorites like avocado and egg, or peanut butter and banana, taste incredible on sweet potato.

4. Sweet Potato Brownies

Ooey, gooey, and oh-so chocolatey. Your favorite root vegetable can officially be used to make the most delicious brownies you didn't even know existed. Due to their sweet flavor and soft texture, sweet potatoes blend in perfectly when making a brownie mix. All you need to add is cacao powder and some other staple ingredients and pop them in the oven. You'd be surprised at their taste -- just like OG brownies (plus, added nutrients and fiber!).

5. Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Mashed potatoes with garlic and butter is everyone's favorite side dish, and no, I'm not exaggerating here. I truly have yet to meet a person who doesn't salivate heavily at the thought of an aromatic scoop of this famous dish. However, for me, mashed sweet potato is just as, if not more, delicious. Think of how delicious mashing sweet potatoes with maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg sounds. The perfect Thanksgiving side for turkey! The smell will waft throughout your whole house, and you'll be asking for thirds, fourths, and fifths. 

6. Sweet Potato Pancakes

One of my favorite things to wake up to is homemade banana pancakes topped with frozen berries, almond butter, and lots of honey. Switch up the bananas for sweet potatoes, and you get the most epic breakfast of your dreams. They'll come out soft, naturally sweet, and will have the most beautiful Instagram-worthy color. Topped with your favorite nut butter, you'll also be adding healthy fats and protein. Watch out -- you're bound to get addicted. Don't say I didn't warn you.

7. Spiralized Sweet Potato

We've all seen spiralized zucchini noodles. Have you ever seen spiralized sweet potato? It's not as common, but dang are they good. Think of pasta, but more satisfying and sweeter. All you need is a spiralizer, but if you don't have one, try cutting your sweet potatoes into fun shapes and then lightly sauteing them in oil and topping fried eggs on top. Super cute and super tasty!

As with every food, all it takes is a bit of creativity to find new ways to incorporate them into our meals. It doesn't always have to be a cookie-cutter, do-this-and-nothing-else, type of approach. There's no use to eating something you're not enjoying, so always play around with ideas and get creative in the kitchen. Finding new ways to eat vegetables will also help us incorporate them in our diets more often, allowing us to thrive from their benefits while simultaneously enjoying our meals. Win-win!