September is National Potato month! You may have seen a lot of conflicting information about the health and nutrition benefits of potatoes on blogs, in magazines, on Pinterest, or when browsing online. In the past, you may have heard them been referred to as a “starch” rather than a vegetable. Potatoes are a great, healthy, and delicious addition to any diet, providing a good source of fiber and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. The benefits of these tasty spuds include helping to lower blood pressure, rebuilding damaged cells in your body, improving brain function, protecting the heart, and improving workout performance.
Like other produce, there are many varieties of potatoes to choose from. These include Russet, Burbank, White Rose, and Fingerling, to name a few. Most potatoes have a very bland, starchy flavor making them a perfect ingredient to go with a more flavorful meal. When buying potatoes, pick single potatoes from the individual display rather from a pre-packaged bag, as they tend to be fresher. Choose firm, smooth spuds that have an even coloring and avoid any potatoes with green spots. Store your potatoes in the pantry at room temperature inside of a paper bag to keep the light away from them and to prevent the potatoes from becoming damp. If properly stored, they can be kept for as long as two months. Storing them in the refrigerator causes the starch to turn to sugar, giving them an undesirable sweet flavor.
In order to get the most out of your potato:
- Be sure to scrub the potato to remove all of the dirt before cooking.
- Make sure to eat the skin for added fiber.
- Shred the potato and make homemade hash browns in the oven.
- Try cutting them into bite size pieces and roasting them in the oven with some olive oil and sea salt.
- Doctor up a baked potato with some steamed broccoli and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, or with some hearty chili.
- For some delicious potato salad, try making it with plain yogurt instead of mayonnaise, a bit of lemon juice, chopped celery, salt and pepper.
The bottom line is potatoes are healthy for you, especially when eaten with a balanced meal of a lean protein and fresh vegetables. So go ahead and buy some potatoes this month. Try them with breakfast, lunch or dinner and share your photos with @foodieoncampus on Instagram and Twitter.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Collins