One staple food that appears on most dinner plates each night is potato. Australians eat bucket loads in many various ways. So why has the humble spud received such a bad rap of late?
Low carb diets seem to be the latest fad and so potatoes are getting a bit of a raw deal as they are high in carbohydrates. But are potatoes bad for you?
Below I address some of the common questions around the humble spud.
Potatoes are high GI so should I avoid them?
Potatoes have a high Glycaemic index (GI) so I wouldn’t recommend eating them on their own, but when combined with other low GI foods this lowers the overall GI of the meal and makes it easier for the body to digest. Sticking with the healthy dinner plate will help to lower the glycaemic load of the meal – 1/2 plate of low GI veggies or salad, 1/4 plate of lean protein and the potatoes to make up the final quarter.
Are potatoes fattening?
Potatoes have no fat. It’s how you cook them or what you add to them that makes the difference. For example, a jacket potato cooked in the oven is great, it’s low in fat and if you eat the skin you get more fibre in your diet. However, if you add butter, cheese and sour cream to the spud you really have ruined it. Instead put a low fat bolognaise or chilli mix or creamed corn and lean bacon over the spud, serve with salad and you have a fantastic meal that is really good for you.
What about potato bake?
The traditional version is very high in fat; having lashings of cream and cheese as the main ingredients means it can be a whopping 50g of fat per serve. I have two versions, my Potato Bake in book 2 and my Quick and Easy Potato Bake in book 6 with less than 3 grams of fat per serve and all the taste of the high fat alternative.
Here’s 5 quick tips for healthy potato options:
- Make low fat potato salad. Switch to 99% fat free mayonnaise.
- Oven bake potato chips. Just peel and cut potatoes into chips then microwave on high for 8 minutes in a little water, drain well. Coat a baking tray generously with cooking spray. Place chips on tray and generously spray with cooking spray. Bake in a hot oven until golden brown, turn once.
- Mash the low fat way. When mashing potato, use skim milk and a small amount of Flora Light margarine.
- Keep it interesting. For a tasty twist on mash add some parmesan cheese to the mix or some chopped fresh parsley or finely diced onion.
- Forget sour cream on spuds. Opt for low fat natural or Greek yoghurt; all the flavour without the fat of traditional sour cream, or make my Symple Sour Cream from book 3, it’s fabulous.
For more variety, why not mix up your mash! Try half and half – potato and sweet potato. Or try pumpkin, parsnip or swede in your mash.
Like anything it’s about exercising moderation with your portion sizes, a big plate of French fries is never going to be the ideal lunch.