We LOVE potatoes, and why not? At only 100 calories per spud, they're an incredible source of vitamins and minerals (they even pack more vitamin C than tomatoes and oranges). These starchy veggies contain 60 different kinds of phytochemicals and vitamins in their skins and flesh, and sweet potatoes are even more nutritious.
Spuds are the ultimate comfort food. Americans eat about 138 pounds per person a year, but are all too quick to load them down with butter and cream. Here are 26 healthy reasons to love potatoes, with delicious, lightened up recipes that let their earthy goodness shine.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
This simple, delicious recipe is always one of our most popular, and for good reason. Smashing (rather than mashing) the potatoes retains more flavor and fiber.
The reason: Most of the potato’s nutrition is stored under the skin, so you really should not peel unless necessary for a particular recipe. Pairing potatoes with garlic unleashes even more immune-boosting, cancer-fighting benefits.
Try this recipe: Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Potatoes pack potassium
Potatoes pack 620 milligrams, or 18%, of the recommended daily value of hard-to-get potassium. They actually rank highest for potassium content among the top 20 most frequently consumed raw vegetables and fruits.
This matters because potassium is key for maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
Purple potato salad
Blue and purple colored potatoes taste just like the regular kind but make an impressive presentation. These gorgeous, brightly colored potatoes can be found at your local farmers' markets or certain grocery stores, including Whole Foods.
If you can't find them, this recipe tastes just as great with ordinary spuds too.
Try this recipe: Purple Potato Salad
Ok, sweet potatoes are not technically potatoes at all, but they tend to get grouped with regular spuds because they are prepared the same way. Sweet potatoes can be baked, mashed, fried, boiled, roasted, or rolled into flour for fritters.
One baked, medium-sized sweet potato contains 438% of your daily value of vitamin A, 37% of your vitamin C, and some calcium, potassium, and iron too. All this at just 105 calories!
What's more, they also deliver 4 grams of dietary fiber16% of the daily valueand absolutely zero fat.
Twice-baked sweet potatoes
Baking is our favorite way to prepare sweet potatoes because high heat tends to concentrate the sweetness and make it taste almost caramel-like. This is possibly our favorite sweet potato recipe ever: Simple, sweet, elegant, and packed with nutrients, but with an Asian flair thanks to the ginger and sesame seeds.
Try this recipe: Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes
Spuds are soooo satisfying
When you are really hungry, nothing satisfied like a baked potato. Indeed, some nutrition experts say carbs keep you satisfied longer than other foods. Here's why: Your brain acts like a computerized fuel gauge that directs you to fill up whenever it notices that its gas tank (stomach) is empty.
Foods high in Resistant Starch, like potatoes, flip on every single fullness trigger in the body. They release fullness hormones in the intestine and make your cells more sensitive to insulin.
Potatoes pack fiber
At 2 grams of fiber each, a potato with skin is also a high-fiber food .
Tip: Potatoes keep well for 10 weeks or longer. Avoid potatoes that feel soft or spongy or have started to sprout. Any green areas under the skin should be cut out.
Roasted new potatoes with lemon, oregano, and olives
New potatoes are young tubers harvested in winter, when the plants still have the green leaves on them.
Their skin is fragile and thin, their flesh delicate, creamy, and soft, perfect for showcasing in a simple recipe like this one.
Try this recipe Roasted New Poatoes with Lemon, Oregano, and Olives
Mashed potatoes with sauteed leeks
Anyone who has ever enjoyed potato leek soup knows spuds and leeks are a match made in culinary heaven. Leeks have many of the same health-promoting properties of onions and garlic, but with a much subtler, almost nutty flavor.
Try this recipe: Mashed Potatoes With Sauteed Leeks
A surprising source of vitamin C
Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, with one potato providing 45 percent (27 mg) of your daily recommendation. Fresh new potatoes have more nutritional value than “old” potatoes.
To keep potatoes from spoiling and sprouting, store them on a cool dark place, avoiding refrigeration, sunlight, and plastic bags.
You can live on them
From China to Ireland, evidence from the shows that humans have survived on potatoes and little else, thanks to their high nutritional content.
Russet potatoes have about double the antioxidants of plain white and red potatoes. They're also one of the most versatile varieties of potato since they lend themselves to baking, mashing, or boiling.
Two-potato salad with mustard-chive dressing
This is one of the healthiest picnic foods we know. It’s tasty, and low in cholesterol and saturated fat. Made with a bit of buttermilk, it has a tangy flavor that goes well with the mayo and Dijon mustard. (Use fat-free buttermilk and low-fat mayonnaise to cut the fat even more.
Even better, it’s only 150 calories serving.
Try this recipe: Two-Potato Salad With Mustard-Chive Dressing
Garlicky roasted potatoes with herbs
Potatoes pair extraordinarily well with almost any green herb with the possible exception of mint. Grassy parsley, licorice-like basil, and clean-flavored cilantro all make inspired combinations.
Try this recipe: Garlicky Roasted Potatoes with Herbs
Grilled sweet potato fries
Simple and striking, this dish is a perfect complement to summer dishes. Season the wedges and grill for 3 minutes each side (pre-cooking in the microwave helps minimize cooking time). These fries offer a satisfying crunch along with high levels of vitamins A and C.
Try this recipe: Grilled Sweet Potato Fries
Potatoes battle colds
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene. Our bodies convert this organic compound into vitamin A, which is essential for maintaining a strong immune system.
Vitamin A is especially important for areas that go haywire when we catch a cold: It keeps the mucous membranes that line our nose and throatone of the body's first lines of defensehealthy and functioning properly.
String bean and fingerling potato salad with shrimp
Small and long with deep potato flavor, fingerlings also have the benefit of quick cooking.
Try this recipe: String Bean and Fingerling Potato Salad with Shrimp
Oven roasted sweet potato chips with ranch dip
Possibly the healthiest potato chips ever created. These have a fraction of the fat and calories of the store-bought variety, and all the nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes. Serve them with or without the tangy ranch dip.
Try this recipe Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Chips with Ranch Dip
Italian Potato Torta
Italian for tart, cake, or pie, a torta makes a delicious meatless meal.
This one uses tomatoes and two types of cheeses to make a savory, pizza-like entrée with more than 50% of your DRI of calcium and 4 grams of filling fiber.
Try this recipe: Italian Potato Torta
Sweet potatoes stuffed with shrimp and salsa
This dish has about as much protein as four slices of turkey breast, but packs more punch in the flavor department thanks to diced kielbasa, shrimp, salsa, reduced-fat sour cream, and cilantro.
Try this recipe: Sweet Potatoes Stuffed with Shrimp and Salsa
Potato leek soup is sometimes loaded with cream and butter. Not this version. This lightened up recipe swaps heavy cream for potatoes, cauliflower, and cream-style corn to create a rich, thick base. Leeks and bacon add a savory flavor while keeping the fat to less than 7 grams.
Try this recipe: Potato-Leek Chowder
Chipotle-glazed sweet potato spears with lime
Sweet, tangy, spicy and so good for you! Glazed with unsalted butter and with a smoky kick, you won't be able to get enough of this tasty snack and that's okaythey're good for you!
Try this recipe: Chipotle-Glazed Sweet Potato Spears with Lime