It doesn’t take much to get a bad reputation these days. One bad article or negative post on social media, and the whole world can go anti-anything in one day.
Potatoes are a good example of a good vegetable getting a bad rap simply because people have gotten mixed messages from mainstream media. We live in a world full of carbaphobics. Most people are taught that carbs are bad and protein is good, but that’s about the extent of it. This is just one of many reasons why the potato has been left off the plate.
5 Reasons Potatoes Get a Bad Rap
1. Simple carbs complicate things.
There is a huge difference between a complex carbohydrate and a simple carbohydrate. The problem is, most people don’t know the difference. This complicates things for people who are trying to learn how to eat right. As a result, many people just avoid carbs altogether instead of learning which carbs are good and which ones are bad.
For instance, simple carbs are “bad carbs”. Simple carbs include baked goods, cereal, sugar, corn syrup, molasses, soft drinks, fruit drinks and processed foods. Complex carbs are “good carbs” and include whole grains, beans, nuts, fruit, nuts and vegetables – including (you guessed it) potatoes!
DO: Trade French fries and potato chips for homemade baked potato fries or grilled home fries.
2. We mess up a good thing with bad stuff.
There are a ton of ways to cook potatoes. Since they are relatively inexpensive, it is a staple at most fast food restaurants. We have French fries, curly fries, waffle fries, hashbrowns, tater tots, potato salad, mashed potatoes with gravy and every flavor of potato chip you could imagine. More people eat potato products than actual whole potatoes. The potato itself is healthy, but the way it’s often cooked is not.
DO: Use the K.I.S.S method – Keep It Simple Stupid. Bring back the whole potato. Top a baked potato with healthy toppings for a fabulous healthy and hearty meal. Throw some red new potatoes and seasonings with your favorite meat in a slow cooker for a really simple but tasty meal. Add chopped potatoes to your low-calorie vegetable soup to help it stay with you longer.
3. We eat too much.
I’ve never met anyone that didn’t like potatoes. I could honestly eat potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner if my waistline would let me. It’s not that the potato itself makes me fat, it’s the fact that I want four helpings. Biggie fries is the perfect example of going overboard on serving sizes. Potatoes are healthy, but overeating is not.
DO: Measure your food to track your calories so you don’t go over your caloric budget.
4. People are misinformed and misled.
Did you know that a medium potato has more potassium than a medium banana, which is known for its potassium content? Bananas are carbohydrates too, but that seems to be overlooked because they have been labeled “healthy,” while potatoes get left out for no apparent reason.
DO: Adults should get at least 4,700 mg of potassium daily. One medium (5.3 ounce) potato contains 620 milligrams of potassium.
5. People don’t know how to fuel the body properly.
Did you know there is a good time and bad time to eat certain foods, depending on your activity? Potatoes, like many healthy carbs, are an excellent fuel source for your body. Eat potatoes to help fuel you through your day or boost your workouts.
DO: If you are carb-conscience, eat your potatoes when you need the energy most. Add a little healthy fat (like avocado or olive oil) to help slow digestion and give you energy that lasts and lasts.
FOOD PREP TIP:
• Potatoes are one of the few vegetables that are great as left overs. While leafy veggies welt or get soggy, potatoes continue to soak in the flavor of the herbs and spices they are cooked with. So, don’t be surprised the potatoes get better each time you eat them!
• Weigh and measure food before you store it away so you have quick access to exactly the right portions to help you reach your goals.
• Use potatoes to power your workouts. They are great fuel for strength and conditioning training.
This is a sponsored conversation on behalf of Potatoes USA.