Eat Like the Animals: Pachyderm Potatoes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Elephants are the heaviest land mammal and have to eat a lot to stay healthy. They are herbivores and spend up to 16 hours a day eating plants. An adult elephant eats 300–600 lbs. of food a day. That’s more than a person weighs!
Elephants at the zoo get all kinds of fun treats from watermelons (which they squish with their feet and then eat), to apples and sweet potatoes. A lot of our animals, from primates to parrots, like sweet potatoes. Some of the parrots like them cooked, but most of the animals eat them raw!
Recipe type: side dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
  • Olive Oil, for tossing
  • 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced ¼-wide inch strips
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray.
  3. In a large bowl toss sweet potatoes with just enough oil to coat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika.
  4. Spread sweet potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet, being sure not to overcrowd.
  5. Bake until sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes.
  6. You can also try parsnip fries or carrot fries. Some people prefer the taste of sweet potatoes, but if you don’t, try baking “real” potatoes this way too for a healthy “real” French fry.
For Grown-ups: In 2011, the average American ate 29 lbs. of French fries. Over 70% of these fries were from fast food restaurants. Potatoes, by themselves, aren’t bad. Sweet potatoes are a little more nutritious, but not much. Sweet potatoes are not significantly lower in calories or higher in fiber. The main reason French fries are bad for you is that they are deep fried. Deep fried sweet potatoes are just as bad, and oven-baked regular potatoes are just as healthy. Note that most processed potato products (like frozen French fries) have already been fried before you buy them. It’s best to slice up your own!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 potato Calories: 134 Total Fat: 9.1 g Total Carbohydrate: 12.4 g Sugar: 5.1 g Dietary Fiber: 2.0 g Protein: 1.2 g
Recipe by Recovering Vegan at