The holiday season is in full swing and with that brings all of our favorite potato-filled side dishes. However, many people think that these dishes are just tasty, and the potato is often considered to be a less nutrient-dense option in the produce department. Read on to learn more about potatoes and why it is important to add this powerful produce item to your shopping cart!
Contrary to popular belief, the potato group is packed full of nutrients:
- Potassium: Bananas are not your only source of potassium; potatoes of all kinds contain this important mineral. Potassium is important for muscle contraction, maintaining normal fluid levels in cells and supporting normal blood pressure levels.
- Fiber: Most people in the United States do not consume enough fiber on a daily basis. Eating potatoes with their skin on can help you reach your daily fiber needs. Fiber is important for digestion, plays a role in weight management by keeping us full longer and helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
- Vitamin C: Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C; one medium potato contains about 30% of your daily needs. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that helps keep your skin, gums and teeth healthy.
- Magnesium: All potatoes are a good source of the mineral magnesium. Magnesium is an essential part of many different systems around the body. This includes energy production, muscle and nerve function and protein synthesis.
- Vitamin B6: A medium potato can provide about 10% of your daily value of vitamin B6. This essential nutrient is important for maintaining the health of your nervous and immune system.
Potatoes are free of fat and cholesterol, making this a great produce item that can be included in any healthy and balanced diet. Potatoes are also incredibly versatile and can be cooked and eaten in many different ways. You can shred them for tasty breakfast hash browns, boil to make mashed potatoes, roast with seasoning and even add them to your favorite stews or chilis.
No matter how you choose to cook your potatoes, follow these key tips:
- Include variety: Although russet potatoes can be a good option, the world of potatoes is so much bigger than that. Try different types of potatoes to include a larger variety of nutrients in your diet such as Yukon Gold, sweet potatoes, fingerling potatoes and more.
- Measure your portion: Potatoes are a healthy part of a balanced diet, but just like anything else we eat, it is important to keep an eye on our portion sizes to make sure they are right for our needs. Wondering what portion is right for you? Reach out to your local dietitian today.
- Use the skin: The skin of the potatoes contains a lot of those key nutrients mentioned earlier, so save yourself some prep time and skip the peeling.
For more advice on how to use your favorite produce items or to get more individualized guidance on reaching your health and wellness goals, reach out to a dietitian. For a fun and tasty way to prepare sweet potatoes, try this Brown Butter Sweet Potato Mash recipe, perfect for your next family meal or holiday gathering!
Brown Butter Sweet Potato Mash
All you need:
- 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- Salt, to taste
- ¼ cup salted butter
- 12 fresh sage leaves
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
All you do:
- Cook sweet potatoes, covered in lightly salted boiling water, in a large saucepan for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return sweet potatoes to the hot pan. Using a potato masher, mash until desired consistency. Stir in yogurt, orange juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cayenne pepper. Season, to taste, with salt. Transfer potato mixture to a serving bowl; keep warm.
- Melt butter over medium heat in a skillet. Add sage and walnuts. Cook and stir until butter foams and turns golden brown. Remove from heat. Pour butter mixture over sweet potatoes. Serve immediately.
The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.