Dear Holly: Are potatoes healthy? -Spuds
Dear Spuds: Potatoes are a great source of different nutrients; especially if you eat the peel, too. They’re rich in fiber, have gobs of vitamin C and twice the potassium of a banana. Potatoes are also rich in folate, magnesium and choline.
Potatoes are a healthy food. Their bad reputation stems from their less-than-healthy preparation: French Fries and chips! One medium potato, 6-ounces, provides 160 calories.
If you had six ounces of french fries that might be 500 calories. And 6 ounces of potato chips? We’re looking at 1,100 calories. The more surface area that is fried, the greater the number of calories. Pair those preparations with high-sugar ketchup or high-fat dips and the calories are through the roof!
One common misstep that people have with potatoes is to assume that they’re nutritionally equivalent to broccoli or spinach. Potatoes are a starchy, high-carbohydrate vegetable. Nutritionally, they’re similar to eating bread, noodles or rice.When I am meal planning, I like to have something with protein, a source of complex carbohydrates and lots of low-calorie non-starchy vegetables. Potatoes are not worse than broccoli, they are simply provide different nutrients and a different level of calories.
Other starchy vegetables are peas, corn, beans and lentils. Healthy foods – just pair them with non-starchy foods at your meals.
A better way to prep a potato is to pop a whole potato in the microwave for a few minutes until it is tender. Top it with some low-sodium chili, some steamed broccoli or shredded cheese, and you’ve got a meal in a peel! Salsa and black beans or a scoop of plain yogurt are also great potato stuffers.
Another easy way to have baked potatoes? Use your slow cooker! Place whole potatoes in the crock pot, turn the heat to low and come home to hot and tender potatoes!
What is a good portion size for a potato? Make a fist – that is a good portion for any starchy food for you. One fist-sized portion per meal! Potatoes are a great storage vegetable. Any cool and dark place will do! In your pantry, under your bed or in your garage, if the temp doesn’t fall below freezing. Keep potatoes out of the fridge – it is too cold and changes the starches in the potatoes.
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What’s your question for Holly? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information and to make an appointment to work on your goals, visit Grass Roots Nutrition, LLC and BrideBod, owned by me, Holly Larson, a Registered Dietitian. Visit me online at hollylarsonrd.com and follow us on Facebook. Have a delicious, healthy day!