When it comes to healthy eating, it’s hard to know where potatoes fit in. They’re high on the glycemic index (GI), which means they’re digested quickly, so you may feel hungry shortly after eating them. But potatoes are also rich in fiber, vitamin C, and potassium – and a medium spud has just 110 calories. Fortunately, potatoes (fries and chips excluded) can make a satisfying snack or side dish. The trick is in eating them in moderation and preparing your potatoes the healthy way. Try these four tips for turning potatoes into diet-friendly food.
1. Watch your toppings
One of the main reason potatoes are considered fattening is that we load up with cheese, sour cream, butter and gravy (just a tablespoon of butter adds 100 calories to your spud). Some lower-calorie toppings include a few squirts of lemon juice, salsa, chopped vegetables, or beans. If you need a little creaminess, use buttermilk or a sprinkling of shredded sharp cheddar or Parmesan so you can have your potatoes the healthy way.
2. Build a better baked potato
Baking potatoes rank higher on the GI than red potatoes, fingerlings, and creamers. But that doesn’t mean you should cut them out of your diet; just choose smaller ones and use the toppings listed above. Or try this lower-calorie take on the bar-food favorite, potato skins: Scoop out a baked russet potato, leaving about a half-inch rim (save the potato insides for a simple soup; see below). Fill with leftover cooked vegetables and top with a little cheese and paprika; broil until the cheese melts.
3. Make your spud “souper”
Blending potatoes with other vegetables can up their nutritional impact. This soup makes quick lunch for one: Place the insides from a baked russet potato in a blender with enough vegetable broth to cover. (Don’t use other types of potatoes; they’ll turn gluey.) Add 1 cup cooked chopped spinach or broccoli and purée until smooth (add more broth as needed), then heat on the stove or in the microwave. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and minced chives.
4. Reinvent the chip
Instead of ripping open a bag of potato chips, snacks on four roasted fingerlings. Preheat the oven to 200⁰C and line a baking sheet with foil. Cut potatoes with olive oil, the place potatoes in it, cut side down. Roast for 5 to 10 minutes, or until golden and fork-tender; top with a little salt. The high temperature will give the potatoes a fantastic flavor and crisp surface.