By now, you should already know the big misconception behind the myth that eating US potatoes can lead to obesity. Nutrition experts are the first to disagree with this as the root crop is comprising of about 70% to 80% water. The rest is made of starch and an abundance of necessary nutrients like Vitamin C (45%), Vitamin B6, iron, potassium, and fiber.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in their joint Dietary guidelines in 2010 emphasized that US potatoes do not contain bad cholesterol or saturated fat. A medium-sized spud contains just around 110 calories and easily/quickly digested carbohydrates, making eating US potatoes advisable for athletes and people with very active lifestyle, who always need instant energy to carry out strenuous physical activities.
However, the nutritional impact of US potatoes is often significantly lowered or even lost because of the way those are prepared and consumed. To make US potatoes a staple in your ideal healthy diet, here are some simple, yet effective techniques so you could obtain the ideal nutritional benefits of this popular natural food.
1. Go for healthier toppings.
US potatoes can be healthier energy sources when cooked or prepared with lower-calorie toppings, which include salsa, chopped vegetables, beans, or lemon juice. Creamy dishes may use a little of buttermilk or a sprinkle of Parmesan or cheddar. As much as possible, avoid the popular toppings like melted cheese, butter, sour cream, and gravy.
2. Blend US potatoes with vegetables in dishes.
The nutritional impact of US potatoes can be amplified by combining those with vegetables. There is a reason why many of your favorite Filipino dishes (afritada, kaldereta, nilaga, and pochero, among others) are best with US potatoes. Aside from helping improve overall taste, sliced US potatoes complement the nutritional value brought about by carrots, red and green pepper, and leafy vegetables. Here’s a simple buttered vegetables recipe you can also try: cook and combine diced US potatoes, diced carrots, green peas, corn kernels, and a pinch of ground black pepper on a frying pan with little butter until all ingredients get tender.
3. Prepare your own US potato chips.
Without a doubt, a bag of potato chips commercially available in the market may not be ideal if you are keeping a healthy lifestyle. Delicious French fries in fastfood chains may not be a good alternative, either. To make your own chips or French fries, cut US potatoes into strips then brush those on with little olive oil and bake in the oven at 450°F for about five to 10 minutes (until the strips turn golden brown or get fork-tender). Serve with little or no salt. The American Heart Association, on the other hand, recommends a simple and healthier version of mashed potatoes: boil 1.5 lbs. of US potatoes with six garlic cloves; drain and mash before putting on ½ teaspoon of salt, a pinch of black pepper, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and chopped scallions.
4. Avoid peeling US potatoes before cooking.
There is a good reason many restaurants apparently do not peel US potatoes in their dishes. According to nutritionists, most of the nutrients (including protein and minerals) in US potatoes are abundantly deposited beneath the skin. Thus, peeling would lose much of the nutritional benefits. Just be sure to thoroughly clean the skin before slicing or cooking.
5. Observe proper cooking methods.
To keep most of the Vitamin C content, heat water to its boiling point first before adding US potatoes. This technique can also help reduce the overall cooking time. Also resort to other cooking methods for US potatoes like baking, roasting, and steaming. Avoid frying as doing so depletes Vitamin C content by as much as 75%. As a last reminder when cooking dishes, try not to overcook US potatoes by adding those a few minutes before turning off the heat.