Shari Duncan

Turn an Ordinary, Innocent Potato into an Extraordinary Healthy Meal.
Shari

by on Jan.22, 2011, under Egg and Main Course Ideas, Fruits and Veggies, General Nutrition, Recipes

Eat the skin…. And choose your toppings wisely.

Potatoes sometimes get a bad rap because they are high in starchy carbohydrates and low in protein. But this doesn’t mean they are bad for you. It is how they are prepared that matters…and what you top them with.  Boiled and baked potatoes are healthy; French fries and potato chips….not so much.  Potatoes served with high-calorie and high-fat toppings like butter, sour cream or gravy are the culprits that pack on the calories and unhealthy fats.

Start with a small to medium size potato – no larger than the size of your fist, or a tennis ball. (Red or gold potato is preferable to white). Potatoes “of color” provide carotenoids (and some also provide flavonoids) that white potatoes do not. Carotenoids and flavonoids are pigments, and according to nutritional research, they provide us with many health benefits, including cancer protection. Technically, you’ll get more fiber and minerals per bite from smaller potatoes of any kind, since they have more surface area (skin) per amount of starchy inside (total volume). The three to seven grams of fiber contained in a medium-sized potato are mostly in the skin…so enjoy the skin along with the insides! (be certain to scrub them thoroughly before baking).

choose potatoes "of color" for added nutrients

Here are some simple suggestions that transform an ordinary potato into an easy, satisfying AND nutritious meal.

Most of these ideas incorporate some form of protein to keep the meal balanced. You will notice I suggest Greek yogurt as a topping. Greek yogurt is an excellent replacement for sour cream. It mimics the flavor and richness while adding a significant source of protein and without adding the saturated fat of sour cream. Guilt free AND super healthy… give it a try!

  1. Potato with steamed broccoli and low-fat cheddar cheese.  (or broccoli with greek yogurt)
  2. Potato topped with salsa, black beans, and avocado. (or Salsa and greek yogurt)
  3. Potato topped with left over chili or stewed beef.
  4. Potato with shredded roasted chicken and “spiked” yogurt.  (Try garlic salt/powder, paprika, chili powder) and top with parsley.
  5. Scrambled egg whites and turkey or Canadian bacon. (think of your potato as your hash browns)
  6. Potato with a good mix of peppers, onions, mushrooms, squash, zucchini, or root vegetables would be great. Top it with some yogurt mixed with cumin or curry or some fat free Italian dressing.
  7. Potato with cottage cheese. Cottage cheese works well on top of the potato because it adds not only the creamy, cheesy flavor and is a great source of protein that is low in fat and added carbohydrates.

NUTRITION DATA:   one medium potato, (2 ¼ – 3 1/4” dia.)  Baked, flesh & skin contains:

approximately 161 calories; 4.3 grams of protein, 37 carbohydrate grams, (~4 grams of dietary fiber) and nearly no fat.

Potatoes also contain no cholesterol, are very low in sodium and rich in potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.

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