Healthy Appetite with Karena Johnson, Staff Dietician
POTATOES….A “heart-thumping” comfort food! Potatoes often get a bad reputation because many people eat them in the form of French Fries and potato chips that contain high amounts of “bad” fats and do not promote a healthy heart. In fact, nearly 60% of potatoes are distributed to manufacturers who make French Fries, chips, and other processed potato products according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.
Let us thank our top potato-harvesting states: Idaho, Washington, Wisconsin, Colorado and North Dakota for providing us with a vegetable that has so much nutrition to offer. Here is what you can find in one medium-sized fresh baked potato:
· A load of complex carbohydrates that will provide you with long-lasting energy
· Lots of vitamin C to keep your immune system healthy
· Mmmm…..it’s full of potassium in the perfect amount to keep your heart beating
· Wow! Potatoes contain zero fat, sodium, or cholesterol
· Keep the skins on to get more dietary fiber to fill you up and prevent colon cancer
What about portions? To eat a healthy amount of potatoes, stick to 1 medium sized potato about the size of your fist. This counts as 1 cup of starchy vegetables according to the USDA MyPlate. The second way to enjoy your potato is by loading it with healthy toppings. Here are a few 100 calorie topping ideas for you:
· 1-1/4 cups of fresh salsa, 2 Tbsp low-fat cheese, 1 Tbsp onions
· 1/3 cup shredded chicken + 1 Tbsp BBQ sauce + 1 Tbsp onions
· 1/4 cup beans + 2 Tbsp onion + 2 Tbsp low-fat cheddar cheese + chili seasoning
· 1-1/4 cup cooked broccoli + 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper + 2 Tbsp lowfat Mozarella
So if you want to jumpstart your heart, let potatoes be a healthy part of your diet. Will someone please PASS THE TATERS!