TATERS! Don’t be afraid. They actually ARE good for you!

As a Dietitian, I am constantly confronted with what I call “Carbophobia” towards all things starch. Last weekend a friend said to me with excitement, “I’m off the wheat and grains!” Instead of congratulating her I replied with a simple question, “why would you do a thing like that?”

The human gut is a wondrous contraption, and there is not a food-frontier that hasn’t been explored by an adventurous foodie looking for the thrill of tasting, swallowing, and digesting. In my opinion, just because we can eat anything we want on this planet doesn’t mean that we should. Hence, the reason I am perplexed as to the purposeful elimination of foods that are safely grown and extremely healthy, such as grains and potatoes. Certainly, there are bona fide reasons why a person should not consume specific food allergens. However, before assuming that your gut is better off without something that you may have once regularly consumed, we must first question overall diet quality. Also, keep in mind that most humans can digest wheat gluten, yeast, and grains. It would be a shame to eliminate foods based on assumption instead of consulting your doc and testing for absolute proof of allergy or intolerance.

Humans have depended on the nutritional value of the potato going way back in history. Numerous books are dedicated to the feast-or-famine of civilizations in regards to potato crops. In the 1500’s, taters got a bad rap. They were thought to be poisonous, a dangerous aphrodisiac, and the cause of leprosy. It took serious persuasion from chemists and the threat of starvation to convince Europeans to consider the potato a staple in their meager diet of the time. Even Marie Antoinette wore potato blossoms in her hair as an act to persuade the people to trust in the nutritional value of tubers (although this didn’t last for very long knowing how it ended for poor Marie). Maybe her famous quote was misinterpreted and “Let them eat potatoes” was more like it.

DON’T BE A TATER-HATER

Potatoes are incredibly versatile to cook with and highly nutritious. Get ready to be surprised by the nutritional information of the glorious potato! In general, potatoes are kings of potassium, vitamin C, and fiber, just leave the skin on for maximum nutritional value. Sweet potatoes are similar with an additional boost of vitamin A. Potatoes are a little tricky to quantify because of size variation, but this is rather accurate:  

1 cup of Yukon Gold (8 oz by weight) is approximately 166 calories, 40 grams of carbohydrate, 0 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of fiber, and 4.5 grams of protein. YES, protein! Plants contribute to your daily intake of protein, as well. 1 cup of sweet potato is approximately 114 calories, 27 grams of carbohydrate, 0 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein. Go easy on the added fats, toss your taters with just about any spice known to man, and you have a healthy carbohydrate on your plate. Add roasted beets and carrots plus a serving of protein and Voilà! A low-fat, beautifully balanced meal. 

Take a look at this website for further information: https://www.potatogoodness.com

  Zoodles + sweet potatoes! 

Zoodles + sweet potatoes!