Poor potatoes… They have a terrible reputation, but they really can be enjoyed!
First of all, potatoes are delicious. Pretty much everyone likes potatoes, and they are often considered to be comfort food. Americans eat around 50 pounds a year, but unfortunately, a lot of the potatoes consumed are either fried or filled with unhealthy things (cream, butter, etc.). However, plain potatoes have health benefits:
- one medium baked potato has about 140 calories
- potatoes are high in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients & phytochemicals
- high in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Copper, Potassium, and Manganese
- blood pressure lowering compounds have been found in potatoes
- potatoes are high in fiber
- make sure to eat the skin of the potato because this is where a lot of the nutrients are
- Don’t store potatoes in the refrigerator; it causes the potato starch to turn to sugar.
- They should last a couple of weeks (new potatoes) to a month or so (mature potatoes) in a cool, dark place.
- Make sure you don’t put them next to onions because it can cause premature spoilage.
- Before cooking, make sure you remove any bad spots and sprouts.
- Clean the potatoes just before cooking to prevent spoilage.
- Scrub the potatoes really well, but do not peel (peeling takes off some of the valuable nutrients).
- Bake, microwave, broil, or boil potatoes to keep them healthy.
Remember that there can be too much of a good thing regarding potatoes. Eating an oversized portion, topping them with unhealthy items, and/or preparing them in unhealthy ways are the reasons why potatoes get a bad reputation. So:
- keep your potatoes to a reasonable portion size (½ potato or 1 cup potato)
- top the with healthy things like salsa or reduced fat cheese or use a smaller amount of indulgent items
- stick to boiling or baking potatoes and try to avoid frying the potatoes
- avoid French fries and limit potato chip consumption