Photo by Mikaela Todd.

My Thanksgiving at home consisted of three main ingredients: food, shopping and wine, all in excess. The food and shopping I can deal with, but believe me when I tell you that my family can get a little unruly after the first cork has been popped. There’s never been so much truth in the phrase “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” as there has been at my family functions.

Given the fact that we needed to cook pretty much all day in order to prepare a dinner complete — turkey, vegetarian stuffing and mashed potatoes, included — we were far more than ready to eat when the time came around. Already a little drunk off wine, I heaped dish after dish onto my plate and sampled everything before I decided which things to eat first and which ones to save for last. I always save the best for last, and in this case, that was the sweet potatoes.

My mom makes killer sweet potatoes, but not until recently did I discover that I had the same talent. My roommates and I decided to throw a faux Thanksgiving dinner at our house the Monday before we all left for the holidays. We had everyone contribute something, and my contribution was the sweet potato dish. I had never made them before, but luckily they turned out well and became a huge hit with my friends.

Sure, they’re not the healthiest things to eat. In fact I could probably argue that they are the unhealthiest item at both of my Thanksgiving dinners. But who can’t afford to splurge a little around the holidays? And besides, sweet potatoes themselves are actually very healthy— just not with the overabundance of butter and marshmallow (and in my mom’s case, pecans too!).

Sweet potatoes boiled and served with their skins can be very filling and nutritious. They are high in carbohydrates, but most of that comes from their high content of dietary fiber, which is very good around the holidays when you’ve got too much going in and not enough coming out.

They are also a good source of protein, and contain immense amounts of Vitamin A, 769 percent of your daily recommended intake in a small, one-cup serving, as well as over half of your recommended intake of Vitamin C. In addition, there is also a good amount of B6 in sweet potatoes, making it great for energy, especially if you’re vegetarian.

No, my sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving were neither boiled and served in their skins nor served without a good heaping of butter and brown sugar, but it’s still nice to know that beneath all that bad stuff, there’s something good inside, which is what the holidays are all about.

For a personal favorite sweet potato recipe, go to http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/candied-sweet-potatoes-5