Brace yourself— we’re about to turn your world upside down.
If you’re like many people, you probably believe that carbohydrates are inherently bad for you, and if you follow diets, you most likely avoid them like the plague. We have been, essentially, programmed to believe that starchy foods cause us to gain weight. To this, we say: Not necessarily the case. One such food happens to be potatoes, one that many deem to be a comfort food and avoid on most occasions. However, these little tubers are actually nutrient-dense and, when prepared correctly, are healthy side dishes that you can eat much more frequently than you may have previously thought. It’s important to note that consuming too much of anything is not good for you, but in moderation, potatoes could become a staple in your diet.
Along with the misconception is the lack of knowledge of the diversity of potatoes available on the market. Throughout the world, there are more than 4,000 varieties of potatoes grown; and as a whole, the human population consumes hundreds of millions of tons of potatoes each year. While we seem to avoid potatoes in the United States, they’re known staples in the diets of many cultures globally. While your local supermarket might not sell 4,000 different types of potatoes, more likely than not, they sell a wider variety than you noticed before reading this. Typically, a potato with a darker skin has a higher nutritional content than one with pale skin; which is similar to the way we measure the nutritional content of greens and other vegetables.
While not all potatoes are created equal, most are excellent sources of potassium, vitamin C, fiber, and even protein. When eating potatoes, in order to maximize their nutritional impact on your system, be sure to eat the skin: this is where a large portion of the nutrients of the potato are found. Stick to cooking methods that don’t require frying— baking or boiling are both great options.
Now that we’ve busted the myth that potatoes are unhealthy, you may be re-assessing your views on these starchy little root veggies. Another huge benefit of incorporating potatoes into your meals is their cost-effectiveness: Potatoes are relatively cheap, compared to many other starches and produce. The next time you’re in a pinch for a side dish (or even a quick dinner), grab a few potatoes from the pantry, preheat your oven to 400, bake them, and stuff them with healthy fillers like black beans, salsa, and avocado!