OK – potatoes aren’t the healthiest vegetable. But they’re too delicious to give up for life. So how can we make healthy potatoes?
First, potatoes have a bad rap. Even the Harvard School of Public Health doesn’t consider them a vegetable serving on their Healthy Eating Plate. (Instead, they group potatoes with starches, since they are digested more like a starch: quickly, which causes the unwanted blood sugar spike).
Not only that, but most potato preparations aren’t exactly healthy. Think: French fries, cheese fries, chips, etc. No wonder people are worried about eating them!
But while you don’t NEED to have potatoes in your diet, there may be times you’ll WANT them. So here are some tips for making healthy potatoes that won’t spike your blood sugar. As a bonus, you’ll get maximum nutritional benefits!
Choose Nutritious Potato Varieties
Look for potatoes with darker skins or flesh. Dark purple potatoes, for instance, are more nutritious than white-fleshed, tan-skinned potatoes. Some of the best choices include purple Peruvian, French fingerling, large purple, and Ozette fingerling, which are high in antioxidants.
New potatoes, such as small red and white potatoes, are lower-glycemic and easier to find compared to common old potatoes like Russet, Burbank, Irish, and Yukon. Choose to dress them in a healthy fat (like extra virgin olive oil or guacamole) to slow digestion and reduce their glycemic load. This will effectively reduce that blood sugar spike.
How to Make Healthy Potatoes: Cook, Chill, Eat
Cook your potatoes and then chill them in the fridge for at least 24 hours before eating. The cool temperature changes the rapidly-digested starch into one that’s broken down more slowly and is gentler on the body. This still holds true even if you reheat your potatoes (and even for the common old potatoes).
Choose Organic and Eat the Skin
The skin of the potato contains the most nutrients. Choose organic potatoes, and keep the skin on when you cook them. If you can’t find organic, make sure you peel the skin – about 70% of the chemicals sprayed on potatoes remain on the skin (while the other 30% seeps into the flesh).
And if you’re ever in the mood for some potatoes, try this Moroccan Potato Salad for a healthier version of potato salad.
About the Author: Maria Marlowe is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who has helped thousands of people improve their health by optimizing their diet. She has created meal plans and programs to help you lose weight, clear up acne, and spend less time in the kitchen yet still eat healthy.
She has been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, NBC, Well + Good, and more. Her first book, The Real Food Grocery Guide, will teach you how to eat healthy without going broke.