The Great Debate: Should We Be Eating Potatoes?
When it comes to potatoes, people are clearly huge fans. In fact, Americans eat an average of 55 pounds (25kg) of these tubers every year. Although some folks say to stay clear of the carb-heavy potato, there are plenty of health experts who extol the benefits of this starch. It really comes down to how often you eat them and how you prepare them. We’re going to explain why potatoes are amazing, versatile, and an essential item to incorporate in your diet.
Like all things in life, vegetables come in great varieties. You’ve got your broccoli with its high fiber and protein content. There’s cucumber, with Vitamins C and K, and magnesium. Carrots contain lutein, Vitamin B6 and iron. Then there is the potato, which has more carbs than those others. So when you see a potato, run for the hills, right? Not at all!
Although potatoes are on the starchy side due to the amount of carbohydrates they contain, one medium size Russet contains plenty of vitamin C and more potassium than a banana. You’ll also find fiber and protein in potatoes, something your body needs to maintain a healthy weight and curb hunger. Also, potatoes simply taste good, right? Why restrict yourself from the foods that you like, especially one as satisfying as the potato?
It is true that potatoes contain more calories than carrots and leafy greens, but that doesn’t mean they should be avoided altogether. Our bodies do need calories, after all. The key is to eat potatoes in moderation; with current Dietary Guidelines for Americans giving the green light to up to 5 cups per week based on a 2,000 a day calorie diet. It’s all a simple matter of planning your meals and deciding when you want them to include potatoes.
When it comes to deciding on which potatoes to consume, there certainly is no shortage. The aforementioned Russet. White. Yukon Gold. Creamer. Red. Purple. It should be noted that they all contain different amounts of starch, which makes some more suitable for baking (such as Russet), others for mashing (Yukon Gold), and others still for sauteing (Red). Boiling, roasting, steaming, slow cooking, air frying, and pressure cooking are additional methods that are acceptable; just don’t smother them in cheese, sour cream, or butter. You should also avoid frying them as there are zero health benefits to this but a whole lot of problems. Adding a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper is all you need to enjoy potatoes as a healthy side.
Want to get the maximum benefits from eating a potato? Leave the skin on as around half of the potato’s fiber and many of its nutrients come from the peel. Just make sure to wash the peels thoroughly before you start the cooking process.
Looking for some ideas on how to prepare your potato? Consider air frying them until they are crispy and adding some parsley. Or make garlic smashed potatoes with a small sprinkling of parmesan. Another crowd pleaser is roasted red potatoes with rosemary. German potato salad (sans mayonnaise) is a popular choice. In our opinion, baked potato wedges beat the deep fried variety any day! Herb roasted potatoes; sauteed potatoes with chicken; potato skin bites; the list goes on and on!
Here’s the bottom line when it comes to potatoes: they are absolutely not bad for you. In fact, as part of a balanced diet, they are the perfect compliment to fish, chicken, beef or pork. You can even make a hearty, delicious soup out of potatoes, ham, and vegetables. Skip the fries and chips and instead eat them using any of the cooking methods we recommended above. Of course, you should also include other vegetables and plenty of fruits in your diet.