The Truth About Potatoes

I hear people say, “Potatoes are bad for you! Pototes have sugar! Don’t eat potatoes!” Potatoes are getting a bad reputation. You want the truth? Do you think you can handle the truth?

Yes, if  smothered in cheese, mixed up with mayo, doused in sour cream or deep-fried, potatoes are bad for you – – but when in natural form the potato truly shines. In its purest, most potato-y form, it actually packs some very real health perks. Let your potato be a potato! 

Here’s why:

  • They’re loaded with potassium.
  • Potatoes are packed with fiber.
  • They’ve got a hearty dose of vitamin C.
  • Potatoes are a good source of manganese. (Helps in processing protein, carbs and cholesterol)
  • They’re rich in vitamin B6.

But what about the sugar? 

Potatoes are a starchy type of vegetable, meaning they are full of starch carbohydrates. After a long digestive process, starches eventually convert into glucose. Potatoes also have a small amount of naturally occurring sugar, which converts to glucose in a different manner. Meaning, it won’t go directly into your system like eating candy (processed sugars) – don’t make the mistake in thinking that all sugars are bad for you. There are healthy sugars! Your system uses glucose to fuel every cell, so having a lot of carbohydrates in your diet is important. 

Concerned about counting carbs and calories?

Your diet should consist of 45 to 65 percent carbohydrates, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both sugar and starch have 4 calories per gram, so if you follow an average 2,000-calorie diet, you’ll need 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates per day. A 4-ounce potato has nearly 25 grams of total carbohydrates. The exact amount you need depends on your activity level. If you have a physically demanding job or work out on a regular basis, you probably need the higher end of the recommendation, versus someone who is relatively sedentary and needs less.

Power to the potato!  Try eating your spuds in a new way – enjoy these ideas:

  • Mash or purée potatoes: Mash or purée cooked potatoes with a little almond milk, some grated fresh ginger and roasted garlic. Serve with roasted meats or fish, or use as a topping for shepherd’s pie.
  • Roast them! Cut potatoes into thick wedges. Brush with a little olive oil, and bake until cooked through and browned. 
  • Stir-fry diced potatoes in a coconut oil until lightly browned. Add large pinches of cumin and paprika, and some fresh cilantro. Stir until cooked through. 
  • Make potato salad! Mix cooked potatoes with olive oil, white wine vinegar, dried oregano and Dijon mustard.
  • Make breakfast:  Add diced cooked potatoes—with skin on—to omelettes, frittatas and crustless quiches.
  • Top mixed greens with chopped cucumber and tomato. Add diced cooked potatoes, green beans and hard-boiled eggs. Drizzle with an oil and vinegar salad dressing (mix with crunchy peanut butter and a little soy sauce for a Thai taste.)
  • Added texture: Toss cubes of potato into your next curry, chili, soup, stew, risotto, mac & cheese, or casserole. Maybe you fancy a clam chowder
  • Mix with other root veggies: purée cooked potatoes with about the same amount of cooked parsnip or fennel. Stir in a clove of minced garlic and a little thyme. Tastes great with broiled salmon or chicken.
  • Make soup! Who doesn’t love potato soup? Check out my recipe here

So whether it’s one potato, two potato, three potato or more – enjoy! Let me know how you like your spuds.

In health and happiness,

Johanna



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Roasted Roots

I believe in eating what’s in season in order to give my body the vitamins it needs during each part of the year and to keep grocery costs low. This works out nicely, since during the summer I crave light, crisp fruits and vegetables, and in the winter months I often crave a warm, hearty meal containing root vegetables. 

 Putting root vegetables into your favourite winter soup or chicken pot pie lets you take full advantage of an excellent source of beta-carotene. The body converts this antioxidant into vitamin A, which is important for vision and bone growth. It also helps to regulate the body’s immune system. All root vegetables contain healthful fiber and slow-digesting carbohydrates, which break down into sugar in your body to give you energy and the ability to function properly. 

 This winter I have tried to fill the fridge and pantry with as many root vegetables as I have room for because they are in season, taste delicious, and keep very well if I don’t eat them right away. Some root vegetables will keep for months if stored properly. These (usually) very inexpensive vegetables have tremendous health benefits because they grow underneath the ground, allowing them to absorb many nutrients and minerals available in the soil. 

My cold winter bones are warmed with thoughts of all the delicious ways root vegetables can be prepared. They can be delicious roasted, grilled, or braised. They can be made into soups, gratins, hash browns, fries, or root vegetable chips. (I feel some more cooking projects coming on!) 

 To keep me stocked and eating clean this cold season, I joined a local farm share. I want to support local agriculture, eat healthy seasonal food, and challenge myself to try new recipes. In my first farm share I got sweet potatoes, white potatoes, acorn squash, red onion, carrots and garlic. As soon as I received my bounty I knew I was going to make a warm winter root veggie soup! 

 How do you incorporate root vegetables into your winter diet and what are your favorite ways to prepare them?

 Here’s my recipe for winter root vegetable bisque. 

 Enjoy! 

 In health,

Johanna

Ingredients

2 cups diced acorn squash

3 cups diced carrots

2 cups diced sweet potatoes

2 cups diced white potato

4 teaspoons olive oil

2 red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons curry powder (optional)

salt

pepper

8-10 cups vegetable stock, depending on how thick you want the soup to be

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread root vegetables evenly into a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Place pan in the oven and roast for about 45 minutes minutes, flipping once.

Add the 4 cups of vegetable stock to the roasted vegetable medley. Continue to roast go an additional 20-30 minutes until vegetables are tender. Once ready – take out of oven. Turn off the heat and let cool. Then, using an immersion blender, blend the soup to desired consistency. You can also blend the soup in batches in a blender or food processor. Add the soup to a pot and heat when ready to serve. (Add additional vegetable stock to obtain desired texture)   

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