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Turnip the Beet! Nutrition and Wellness

Timely news, information, and innovative ideas to promote health and influence change.
potatoes

Pass the potatoes, please!


Potatoes are so versatile and there are so many delicious varieties. They can be dressed up, dressed down, eaten alone or as the base for a hearty stew or frittata (see recipe below).

They have long been a staple in the American diet but are often shunned for the misconception that "they have no nutritional value and contain nothing but carbs".

This couldn't be further from the truth because even a plain white potato (with the skin) is full of key nutrients such as fiber, potassium, vitamin C and B6, magnesium, phosphorous, folate and even 4 grams of protein.

Potato nutrition

How do red, white and sweet potatoes compare? They are all high in potassium and good sources of other essential nutrients needed for optimal health. In fact, gram for gram, they all have more potassium, calcium and vitamin C then bananas, which have 358 mg of potassium, 5 mg of calcium and 8.7 mg of vitamin C.

White potato-with skin (100 g)

Sweet potato- with skin (100 g)

Red potato- with skin (100 g)

Potassium

544

475

545

Vitamin C

12.6

19.6

12.6

Protein

2.1

2

2.3

Fiber

2.1

3.3

1.8

Calcium

10

38

9

Are you getting enough potassium and fiber in your diet?

  • 97% of Americans do not have an adequate intake of potassium
  • 95% of Americans do not have an adequate intake of fiber

Potatoes in all forms are a good source of fiber and an excellent source of potassium. This makes them nutritious AND delicious. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 2-8 cups of starchy vegetables each week, depending on caloric needs, to achieve a well-balanced diet; you should feel good about adding more of them to your diet!

Here is one of my favorite recipes which I love to make on weekends. Feel free to use your favorite potatoes and other seasonal vegetables. This recipe is very flexible.

Breakfast Frittata with Red Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp oil- canola, vegetable and olive all work well*
  • 4-5 red potatoes- cut evenly into ½ pieces (cut smaller for quicker cooking)
  • ¼ - ½ cup diced ham (optional)
  • ½ onion- diced (red, white, yellow and shallots all work well)
  • ½ cup kale- chopped
  • ~6 baby bella mushrooms- diced
  • 4-5 eggs- beaten with a splash of milk or water (use egg whites for less cholesterol)
  • Herbs: try rosemary, thyme, and parsley (fresh or dried)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ - 1 cup shredded cheese for topping

Directions:

  • Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes, stir, and cover.
  • Cook potatoes for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add other vegetables, herbs and ham if using. Stir and cover. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes; stir occasionally to check for doneness.
  • Once potatoes are soft and vegetables are tender, pour eggs over the potato mixture; do not stir.
  • Allow to cook uncovered until the sides are set but still slightly runny in the middle; 5-10 minutes.
  • To cook the rest of the way, place the skillet in the broiler for about 5 minutes or until set (the center should be firm, not runny).
  • Carefully remove the skillet with a potholder and sprinkle the top with shredded cheese

Once the cheese has melted it is ready to serve! Options for serving: avocado, green onions, sour cream, Greek yogurt, salsa, hot sauce, ketchup, parsley, and oregano.

*Are you using the right oil for the right job? Check out this post on cooking fats and their smoke points to learn more.

References:

National Nutrient Database

The Alliance for Potato Research & Education



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