Let’s face it: Potatoes aren’t the healthiest vegetables, but they taste too good to swear them off for life. Here’s how to make them healthier.
Potatoes get a bad rap. In fact, Harvard School of Public Health doesn’t even consider them a vegetable serving on their Healthy Eating Plate. (Instead, they group them with starches, since they are digested more like a starch: quickly, which causes the unwanted blood sugar spike).
Pair that with the fact that most potato preparations leave a lot to be desired: french fries, cheese fries, chips…and it’s no surprise that people are scared to eat potatoes.
But while you don’t necessarily need them in your diet, there may be times you want them. So, here are my top tips for making healthy potatoes, so that they don’t spike your blood sugar as much, and you get maximum nutrition from them!
How to Make Healthy Potatoes
- Choose More Nutritious Varieties – In general, look for potatoes with the darkest skins or flesh. For example, purple potatoes, with their deep dark purple skin and flesh, is more nutritious than the more common white fleshed, tan-skinned potatoes. Top choices include purple Peruvian, French fingerling, large purple, and Ozette fingerling, which all rank high in terms of antioxidants. New potatoes, such as the small red and white potatoes or boiling potatoes are a lower glycemic, easy-to-find choice, compared to the common old potatoes, like Russet, Burbank, Irish, and Yukon.
- Dress them in a Healthy Fat – Consuming a health fat with potato (no matter what type) slows digestion and reduces their glycemic load, and therefore, your blood sugar spike. Drizzle on extra virgin olive oil or spoon on some guac.
- Cook, Chill, Then Eat – Cook your potatoes, then chill them in the fridge for 24 hours before eating. The cool temperature converts the rapidly digested starch into one that’s more resistant – it’s broken down more slowly and gentler on the body (meaning less of a blood sugar spike, by as much as 25%). This holds true, even if the potatoes are reheated (and again, even for the common old potatoes).
- Choose Organic and Eat the Skin – The skin is the most nutritious part of the potato, so choose organic and keep it on. If you can’t find organic, peel the skin…about 70% of the chemicals sprayed on potatoes remain in the skin (the other 30% seep into the flesh).
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If you’re now in the mood for some potatoes try this Moroccan Potato Salad for a healthier take on potato salad.