Potatoes have gotten a bad reputation. As the ubiquitous French fry and chip, potatoes, while delicious, went from a high fiber food, to a high fat one. We are here to restore the healthy reputation of the potato. Whether white, purple or orange, potatoes are packed with nutrients. Getting the good from potatoes is all in the preparation.
When you leave the skin on, and consume it, a medium baked potato has almost 4 grams of fiber and over 4 grams of protein. These nutrients help balance out what we already know potatoes have- starch. Many studies have looked at the satiety of different starchy foods, how satisfying they are and how long they decrease hunger levels for, and potatoes come out in top when compared with other starchy foods, like pasta and rice.
Both sweet and white potatoes contain similar amounts of macronutrients, but vary in their vitamin, mineral and antioxidant content. White potatoes have slightly more potassium than sweet potatoes. One sweet potato, with its’ golden orange hue, contains more than a full daily value of Vitamin A, along with high amounts of Vitamin C, B6 and a variety of antioxidant compounds. Purple potatoes have 2-3 times the amount of antioxidants when compared to white potatoes. These powerful anti-inflammation and anti-cancer compounds are abundant in a variety of plant foods. The dark colors of sweet potatoes and purple potatoes is a clue that they contain a variety of healthy compounds.
So how do you include potatoes in your diet in a healthy way? It’s all in the preparation and cooking method. First- keep the skin on! This makes sure the fiber and many of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants remain present. Second- boil or bake, versus fry. Try out a lower fat potato salad recipe, or make a healthy mash; bake or roast all varieties of potatoes and serve with some fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. Finally- watch the portion. As with most starchy foods, aim for a quarter of your plate as starch.
Try out this stuffed sweet potato dish as we head into the holidays and fill up on healthy goodness!