Twice bake sweet potatoes for tan skin

Enjoy sweet potatoes to protect the skin against harmful UV rays. 

Claire Powell/AmesEats Flavors

Enjoy sweet potatoes to protect the skin against harmful UV rays. 

With spring break and swimsuit season fast approaching, there is one thing that all beachgoers, both male and female, have on the brain: tanning.

Just one 20-minute session in your favorite UV clubhouse before the age of 35 increases your risk of skin cancer by 75 percent and increases your chance of premature wrinkles, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Since tanning itself can be an addictive habit, students should try to take up another addictive habit – eating sweet potatoes.

The orange color in the sweet potato comes from beta-carotene, an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A and is known to be responsible for producing new skin cells and shedding old ones. This will keep the surface of your skin resistant to damage and looking healthy. These antioxidants may help ward off various forms of cancer (including melanoma) as well as helping to prevent wrinkles.

If feeling the need to twice-bake, try twice baking some sweet potatoes, because healthy skin and happy taste buds are a good way to celebrate Spring Break.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 3-4 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Ground ginger
  • ¼ cup crushed bran flakes or bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons crushed pecans (optional)

Wrap three large sweet potatoes in foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour, or until the potato is cooked all the way through so the inside is soft (varies depending on size of the potato). You may also microwave the potatoes until done if you are short on time.

Once cooled enough to handle, cut the potato in half lengthwise and scoop out all but 1/8 inch of the flesh from the inside of the potato. Mix the flesh with 1 tablespoon butter, chives and Greek yogurt. Add salt, pepper and ginger to taste. For a more flavorful potato, add cinnamon and cloves.

In a separate bowl mix crushed cereal or bread crumbs with the remaining tablespoon of butter, add pecans or other nuts if you wish. Season topping mixture to taste.

Spoon the flesh mixture into the potato skins, top with the cereal mixture and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.