Yes, Potatoes Are Good For You

PotatoesPotatoes have been given the short shrift in light of popular low-carbohydrate diets. It doesn’t help that we equate them with french fries and potato chips, either. Luckily, books like The Starch Solution are bringing potatoes back into popularity as one of the world’s super foods.

Starchy foods like potatoes make us feel full and satisfied; they are not the cause of weight gain. While it’s true that potatoes in the form of deep-fried french fries and potato chips, mayonnaise-covered potato salads, and mashed potatoes filled with butter and heavy cream are usually high in saturated fat and sodium , a potato on its own contains just as much disease-fighting nutrients as any other vegetable. In fact, a medium potato contains more potassium and vitamin B6 than a banana and almost as much vitamin C as an orange. A potato has 2-3 grams of fiber and 2-3 grams of protein. Pick a sweet potato, and you’ll get the added benefit of vitamin A to boost eye health. Sweet potatoes are versatile; they can be used in both savory and sweet dishes.

Ready to give potatoes another shot? Try these healthier takes on traditional potato salad and french fries, or end your meal with a sweet treat made of baked sweet potatoes.

Creamy Avocado Potato SaladAvocado Potato Salad

Serves 4

Adapted from Detoxinista

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. Yukon gold or red potatoes (about four cups)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: nutritional yeast, paprika, chili powder, or cumin to taste

Directions:

  1. Scrub and chop potatoes into cubes. Cook in boiling water or steam for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, combine the avocado, Dijon mustard, garlic, red onion, cucumber, dill, and lemon juice in a medium bowl, and mash well with a fork. Stir in cooked potatoes, and season to taste with salt and pepper and optional seasonings.

Simple Baked Fries

Sweet potato fries

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 2 russet or sweet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon each of seasonings of choice: garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, paprika
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Clean and scrub potatoes. Peel if desired and chop into matchstick-size pieces.
  3. Mix together olive oil, salt, pepper, seasonings, and optional nutritional yeast in a bowl. Add in potato slices and stir until well-coated.
  4. Spread potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through to ensure even cooking.
  5. Remove from heat. Top with additional seasonings or herbs, if desired. Serve with dipping sauce of choice.

Maple Cinnamon Sweet Potato Bites: maple sweet potatoes

Serves 4

Adapted from Natural Chow

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup or molasses
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Optional toppings: shredded coconut, walnuts, almonds, flax seeds, chia seeds, berries, chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Scrub and peel potatoes. Chop into bite-size cubes. Toss cubes in bowl with melted coconut oil.
  3. Add in cornstarch, maple syrup, and cinnamon and stir until cubes are evenly coated.
  4. Spread cubes in a single layer on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cubes are crispy.
  5. Remove from oven and sprinkle with additional cinnamon and/or desired toppings. Allow cubes to cool before eating.
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