When it comes to nutrition, sweet potatoes beat white potatoes hands down. They have good carbohydrates, the kind with a low glycemic index so they don't produce a sugar crash. The vitamins and minerals in sweet potatoes can help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, diverticular disease and constipation. They're anti-inflammatory and can even aid in keeping a pregnant woman a little bit healthier. There's even a bonus if you eat the skin — you'll get some additional fiber.

With all this nutrition, plus their nutty, sweet taste, it's no wonder people are finding room for sweet potatoes in their diet. Another reason for their popularity is that with the help of a microwave, a "baked" sweet potato can be ready in mere minutes.

How to microwave a sweet potato

woman's hand turning microwave knob In as little as five minutes, you can have a hot, delicious sweet potato for dinner. (Photo: Andry_Popov/Shutterstock)

It's easy to microwave a sweet potato. North Carolina Sweet Potatoes offers these simple steps:

  1. Scrub the potato clean.
  2. Pierce it with a fork five or six times to help let steam out while it's cooking.
  3. Microwave for five to eight minutes depending on the size. The potato is done when its skin puffs to a crisp finish and a knife slides through the flesh easily.

For each additional potato you put in the microwave, you'll need about two additional minutes of cooking time.

Once your potato is cooked, you can slice it open and eat it as you would an oven-baked sweet potato, or you can scoop out the insides, mash and use in a recipe that calls for sweet potatoes.

Toppings for baked sweet potatoes

baked sweet potatoes, scrambled eggs By topping a baked sweet potato with other healthy foods, you an turn one into a whole meal. (Photo: Amallia Eka/Shutterstock)

If you're short on time, you can make your microwaved "baked" sweet potato into a quick meal. Try these toppings.

  • Scrambled eggs, tomatoes and shredded Parmesan cheese, as in the photo above.
  • Feta cheese and herbs.
  • Chili and avocado ranch dressing.
  • Steamed broccoli and cheddar cheese.
  • Cottage cheese and blueberries.
  • Spiced green yogurt and honey.
  • Black beans, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and chives.
  • Sausage, arugula and Pecorino.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

How to microwave a sweet potato
Forget waiting an hour for it to cook in the oven, these perfectly baked sweet potatoes with creative toppings take minutes in the microwave.