Spotlight on Potatoes!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ah, the potato. Possibly the most well known root vegetable in the world (well, after the carrot). The low-carb craze has villified the poor potato, and I'd like to just lay down some facts for you all. Lets put the potato in a good light - it deserves it.

1. YES potatoes ARE a carb-filled food! This is a good thing! Your body couldn't function without carbs. If you need to, take a moment to re-read that. I can wait..... There are two different types of carbs - bad carbs (simple carbs) and good carbs (complex carbohydrates).

Bad carbs are made up of simple, refined sugars (cake, cookies, other baked goods), chips, white breads, white pasta, white rice, soda, and.... alcohol (sorry to break any bad news). 

Good carbs are made up of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans and legumes. 

Guess what? Potatoes are a vegetable. This means they fall under the good carb category. *cheers*

2. One 5 ounce potato has over 600mg of potassium. To put that in perspective, one 5oz banana has only around 500mg of potassium (AND bananas have MORE carbs than potatoes). 

What does potassium do for you? Potassium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. It is also thought to help relieve stress, irritability and anxiety. It protects against heart disease, helps keep nerve endings firing, keeps muscles strong, bowels regular and helps relieve confusion. 

3. One 5oz potato contains around 45% of your recommended daily vitamin C. 

Vitamin C helps produce collagen in bones, cartilage, muscle and blood vessels. It also helps the body with absorption of iron. Vitamin C prevents scurvy. It has powerful antioxidant properties, and it is estimated that people who consume high levels of vitamin C live up to 6 years longer than people who don't.

4. Protein, protein, protein. One five ounce potato contains 3 grams of protein, NO fat, and only 110 calories. 

Is that enough for you? Go eat a potato.

Some cooking tips:
When you boil your potatoes, you lose a ton of vitamins and minerals to the water. Try steaming or roasting instead.

When baking potatoes, avoid slathering the skin in oil. If you must put oil on the outside of your potato, measure out 1/2tsp and use it - then season with your favourite seasoning mix.

Want to "beef" up your mashed potatoes. Steam chopped potatoes with chopped cauliflower and mash together when soft. 

Add more flavour to your mashed potatoes - roast them then mash them. For even more flavour - roast them with a small parsnip and mash them all together (I like to have about the same amount of potato and parsnip)

For a flavourful baked potato - grill it.

Sweet mashed potatoes? add a little cinnamon/sugar

Best breakfast potatoes ever: slice thinly and cook with a finely minced garlic clove, some sage, and some thyme on VERY low heat for about an hour until cooked through.

Have a favourite, healthy way to prepare your potatoes? Please share!


wilcoxv330 said...

i love to cut them into thin strips and make french fries with a sprinkle of salt and pepper!

Kelly said...

Yum! I love baked fries!

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