dietitian, there is one food I get questioned about frequently and that is
potatoes. People are often wondering if potatoes are okay to eat or if they
need to avoid them. Living in the Midwest where potatoes are a common side dish,
I thought we would clear up the confusion as to whether potatoes are a nutritional
powerhouse or something that should be avoided.
have a bad reputation, but this is mainly due to how we eat them and the amount
versus their nutritional properties. A small potato with the skin on is
fat-, sodium-, and cholesterol-free, has more blood pressure lowering potassium
than two medium bananas, and is a great source of fiber. All of these
properties make a potato a great choice for heart health. In addition, potatoes
have 20% of the daily value of vitamin C, significant niacin, folate, magnesium
and phytochemicals. With 130 calories for a serving of potato, it is somewhat
lower in calories and carbohydrates than a similar portion of rice or pasta.
consumer data shows that one-half to two-thirds of the potatoes Americans eat
are either potato chips or French fries. One small serving of French fries or
potato chips is at least double the calories, ten times the amount of fat, and
less than half the vitamin C of a small potato.
Look at the
5 ounces of a baked potato, there is less calories than 1 oz of either the
potato chips or French fries. There is no fat in the baked potato but there is
10-13 grams in the other two foods.
considered a higher glycemic index food, meaning that their carbohydrates are
quickly broken down into sugar.But the glycemic
index does not take into account many other factors that effect our glucose
response. So, monitor your blood sugar and see how potatoes effect your
numbers. It may mean you need to pair potatoes with some lower carbohydrate
items or watch your portion a little closer.
some tips for making healthy choices with your spuds:
1. Keep the skin on - This is where you get the benefits from the fiber in the potato.
2. Stick with baking or microwaving - Boiling potatoes
allows much of the vitamins and minerals to leach into the water. Baking or
microwaving maintains 40-100% more potassium and two times the vitamin C as
boiled. Avoid fried potatoes as they add unwanted fat and calories to your
3. Watch your portion size - The serving size for potatoes is about the size of a fist.
If you’re at a restaurant cut your potato in half and either share it with a
friend or box it up to take home for another meal.
4. Limit add-ons - If you are watching your sodium and fat intake, be careful with all those
toppings. At home, top with plain Greek yogurt, guacamole, or salsa instead of
sour cream, butter and cheese to cut back on saturated fat and cholesterol.
5. Pair with other non-starchy vegetables - Since potatoes are higher in carbohydrate than other
vegetables, its best to pair your potato with non-starchy vegetables, instead
of corn and peas, to keep the total carbohydrate down for your meal.