Monday, November 3, 2014

1 potato, 2 potatoes.....

By Jeanette Andrade MS,RDN,LDN

I am a dietitian who loves potatoes. There I said it. In fact I lived off of potatoes (baked, red, and sweet) during my college years for dinners. They were cheap- a 5 pound bag of potatoes would cost me $5.00 and last a few weeks, if not longer. I would add vegetables to them and sprinkle some low-fat cheese and I would have a delicious meal. Of course now I do not eat potatoes every night for dinner, but I still make them at least once per week and my kids love them. However, I read an interesting report that the sales of potatoes have been steadily declining over the past decade (Gallo, 2014). There are two main factors why potato sales are down, the largest one being American’s are shunning potatoes due to the amount of carbohydrates (Gallo, 2014). I could believe this report because when I would tell my diabetic clients that it is fine to eat potatoes they would be shocked or refused to believe me as they assumed potatoes are the reason their blood sugars are high or the reason they continued to gain weight. Well sure, eating a pound of French fries is not healthy, but eating a nice 3-4 ounce baked potato with the skin on it is quite healthy. Let’s take my baked potato as an example. A 3-4 ounce potato with the skin on it is low in fat, low in calories, contains about 30 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of dietary fiber. Additionally, the potato is high in potassium, which could potentially lower blood pressure, and many B-vitamins, which helps build and repair cells and may help the health of the heart (The George Matelijan Foundation, 2014).  Still not convinced about eating a baked potato? Well, I bet this recipe will help change your mind ;)

Grilled Potato Pockets (Eating Well, 2012):
Makes 4 servings- 1.5 cups serving size

2 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3 medium shallots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1.       Heat grill to medium-high.
2.       Meanwhile, place potatoes, shallots, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl; toss to coat. Place two 24-inch-long pieces of foil on the counter and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange potatoes and shallots in a single layer, slightly overlapping, on half of each piece of foil. Leave a 2-inch border on all sides. Fold foil over and pinch the edges together, making two packets.
3.       Place packets on the grill. Cover the grill and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. (When you open a packet to check doneness, be careful of steam.) Serve immediately.

Per serving: 172 calories; 3 g fat (0 g sat, 2 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 31 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 5 g protein; 4 g fiber; 299 mg sodium; 1032 mg potassium.


Eating Well (2012). Grilled Potato Packets. Retrieved from .

Gallo, A. (2014). Pity the Potato: The humble spud falls from grace in the U.S. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from .

The George Matelijan Foundation (2014). Potatoes. Retrieved from .


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