Did you know that potatoes are actually good for you? Sadly, most people assume they aren’t good for them and with good reason. The truth is America’s obsession with junk food is to blame for potatoes getting a bad rap. According to the USDA/NASS approximately 65% of the potatoes consumed in the United States per year are in French Fry or Potato Chip form. Obviously, when you fry or process a potato and add fatty oils and high levels of sodium to them it’s going to do more harm than good.
Nutrition experts are trying to dispel the unhealthy potato myth by educating the public about the nutritional benefits of the potato. One medium baked potato gives us almost 30% or our daily-recommended value of both vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Potatoes are also high in both fiber and potassium which most of us do not get enough of on a daily basis. A baked potato is an excellent addition to a well-balanced meal if you go easy on the sodium and fatty toppings.
By now most of us are aware that we don’t have to sacrifice taste when it comes to eating healthy. Some alternative healthy toppings that go great on a baked potato are scallions, Greek yogurt, curry, tomato-pesto, salsa, low fat sour cream and chives. Can’t imagine your spud without butter and salt? Just remember less is more.
Don’t discard the skins. Eat them! Potato skins are packed with potassium, iron, and niacin. What does that mean for you? Potassium fuels your metabolism and assists in your muscle movement. Iron supports healthy red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body. And Niacin or vitamin B3 is important for healthy new cell development and assists in recovering from stress.
Recently, the Institute of Medicine put white potatoes back on the eligibility list for the WIC program. They discovered that women and children weren’t meeting the recommended daily intake of starchy vegetables and potatoes are a simple and beneficial solution.
For all of you spud fans it’s time to bring the potato back into your diet. Remember, the potato on its own is healthy, just be aware of how it’s been prepared and what’s on top of it.
Check out what’s being picked this week*: Raspberries, Okra, Beets, Cabbage, Broccoli, Beans, Zucchini, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Herbs, Peppers, Lima Beans, Eggplant, Potatoes, Squash, Sweet Corn, Blueberries, Pears
*Availability will vary by market due to differences in growing zones.
Recipe of the Week:
Here’s a great way to load up your baked potato without the added fat and calories: Try this recipe
Photo Credit: Nick Saltmarsh Via Flickr Creative Commons