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Powerful potatoes

November 21, 2012
By Katie Wilhelmi , Marshall Independent

Potatoes are one of the greatest nutritional values in the produce department. Potatoes are low-cost and packed with essential nutrients. Potatoes have more vitamin C and potassium than bananas and apples. Known as a "starchy vegetable," potatoes can be considered a healthy carbohydrate and a nutrient-packed vegetable. A versatile vegetable, potatoes can be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks!

Potatoes are packed with vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and fiber. At about 30 cents a serving, potatoes eaten with the skin provide vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6, magnesium and fiber. In addition, they are free from fat, cholesterol and sodium. Sweet potatoes also provide beta-carotene, another powerful antioxidant. All that and no fat, cholesterol or sodium!

It is not the potato, but what you put on top that makes a potato a healthy or not-so-healthy choice. Alter your toppings to keep the potato low in fat, cholesterol and sodium. Try any one or a combination of the following toppings:

Steamed broccoli, other veggies in olive oil

Sliced green onions

Parmesan cheese

Plain Greek yogurt

Low-sodium seasonings

Light salad dressings - creamy Italian, Caesar

Reduced-fat sour cream



Pesto sauce

Marinara sauce

Vegetarian chili

There is not just one way to cook a potato! Potatoes can be microwaved, baked, broiled, boiled, roasted, mashed, layered, sauted, stewed or added to scrambled eggs, soups and stews. Even leftovers can be used in wraps, salads or sandwiches.

Three ways to cook a potato

Source: United States Potato Board

Baked - conventional oven method:

Preheat oven to 450F. Wash and dry potatoes.

With a fork or sharp knife, pierce each potato two or three times.

Place on cookie sheet or baking pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork.

Microwave method:

Wash and dry potatoes. With a fork or sharp knife, pierce each potato two or three times.

Place potatoes in a circle on a paper towel, leaving a 1-inch space between each potato. Cook on high for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Turn once during cooking. Let potatoes stand for five to 10 minutes before serving.


Scrub potatoes gently. Leave the skin on for more fiber. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Toss with olive oil. Put potato pieces in a shallow roasting pan or on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt, ground black pepper, chopped herbs or spices to taste. Roast in hot oven (375 to 425 degrees) until vegetables are tender and browned, about 30 minutes.

Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Mash

Serves 6 (about 2/3 cup each)

Active time: 15 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes

All you need

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

1/2 cup low-fat milk

2 tbsp. butter

1 tsp. brown sugar

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

All you do

1. Place potatoes and sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until very tender when pierced with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes.

2. Drain the potatoes, then mash them in the pot to the desired consistency. Place milk and butter in a small bowl and microwave on high until the butter is mostly melted and the milk is warm, 30 to 40 seconds. (Alternatively, place in a small saucepan and heat over medium until the milk is warm.) Stir the milk mixture, sugar, salt and pepper into the mashed potatoes until combined.

Nutrition facts per serving: 151 calories; 4g fat (3g sat, 0g mono); 11mg cholesterol; 26g carbohydrate; 1g added sugars; 3g protein; 3g fiber; 321mg sodium; 369mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (190% daily value), Vitamin C (20% dv). Carbohydrate servings: 2

Source: adapted from Eating Well, Inc.

This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Katie Wilhelmi is a registered dietitian at the Marshall Hy-Vee Food Store.



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