Why Is There So Much Hate For Potatoes
It’s really unfortunate that potato myths are so prevalent. The lowly white potato has been given a bad rap by many nutritionists. Because of this, people tend to think that this low-cost staple is nothing more than a source of cheap carbohydrates. But that simply isn’t true! The white potato is actually a nutrient-rich powerhouse that can even be part of a weight-loss diet.
An average medium potato, with the skin-on, only has 110 calories and provides more potassium (about 620 mg.) than a banana, tomato, spinach or broccoli. Potassium is a much-needed nutrient, which can help lower blood pressure and prevent hypertension. A plain white potato also provides about 50% of your daily requirement for vitamin C, 10% of your vitamin B6 and traces of other important minerals such as thiamin, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc, along with 2 g. of fiber. The white potato is also low in sodium, fat and cholesterol. That’s a lot of nutrition for less than $1.00!
The skin of the potato is an important nutrient source that should be eaten rather than peeled off whenever possible. A variety of new potato colors have appeared in the market over the last few years, including red potatoes, pink potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, purple potatoes and fingerling potatoes; many of them heritage types. These potatoes offer color appeal and important phytonutrients that can help improve your health.
The Nutritional Value of The Sweet Potato
The health benefits of sweet potatoes have been promoted a lot lately, often stating that sweet potatoes are healthier than white potatoes. It is true that the sweet potato has more carotenoids such as beta carotene because of the orange color, and an extra gram of fiber, yet according to the Cleveland Clinic, the sweet potato actually has slightly less protein, potassium and magnesium, making both the sweet potato AND the white potato great sources of nutrition that should be included in your healthy diet. That is, if you don’t smother them in butter, sour cream and salt!
How To Cook Your Potatoes So They Stay Healthy
Smothering the white potato, the sweet potato, or any color of potato in fattening toppings or deep-frying them is why people think potatoes and weight gain go hand in hand. Although it is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that all foods can be part of a healthy diet when eaten in moderation, it’s the moderation part that can be hard for most of us! However there are healthier potato recipes that are yummy, yet easy on the waistline that can be enjoyed often. Why not try some of these recipes from Foot Steps to Health?
Bacon Blue Cheese Fingerling Potatoes
• 1 cup fingerling potatoes
• 1½ tsp. olive oil
• ¼ tsp. salt
• ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
• 2 Tbsp. crumbled blue cheese
• 2 Tbsp. bacon crumbles
• 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse fingerling potatoes, pat dry, and toss with olive oil. Place potatoes in a baking dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper; bake 20 minutes or until tender. Remove potatoes from oven, place in serving dish and sprinkle with blue cheese, bacon and chives.
Per serving: 157 calories, 7 g fat, 6 g protein, 16 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 583 mg sodium.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Turnips
• 1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and diced
• 1 lb. turnips, peeled and diced
• 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
• 2 Tbsp. butter
• 2 Tbsp. light sour cream
• 2 – 4 Tbsp. milk
• salt and pepper
Combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan; cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until very tender. Drain well and return to pan. Add butter, sour cream and 2 Tbsp. milk. Beat with a mixer until smooth. Add additional milk to achieve desired consistency. Salt and pepper, to taste.
Per ¾ cup serving: 220 calories, 4.5 g fat, 4 g protein, 42 g. carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 45 mg. sodium