If you’re concerned your child is consuming too many french fries, you may be relieved that a new study released at the Experimental Biology 2012 Annual meeting showed that calorie intake from white potatoes is actually modest for not only adults, but school-aged children as well.
According to Dr. Maureen Storey, Chief Executive Office for the science-based Alliance for Potato Research and Education (APRE), “school aged children consumed, on average, only three percent or less of calories per day from all types of white potatoes, including baked, boiled, mashed French fried and other mealtime preparation methods. And children consumed, on average, less than one percent of their daily caloric intake from white potatoes at school.”
Adults also appear to consume less calories from white potatoes, yet the decline in consumption isn’t quite defined. Interestingly enough though, government data shows that white potatoes aren’t the only vegetable in decline – in fact, total fruit and vegetable consumption has been declining throughout the last decade.
Perhaps part of the decline is the bad rap potatoes have gotten over the past few years. White potatoes are often associated with poor nutrition – not because they aren’t a nutrient dense food option, but because of some of the cooking methods often used to prepare them. French fries, potato chips, and loaded baked potato skins all have unhealthy qualities about them; however, the potato itself is actually a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, copper, potassium, manganese and dietary fiber.
The benefits of the white potato don’t stop there though. White potatoes are a nutritious and affordable option for most people. They are also incredibly versatile and can be easily incorporated into a variety of healthy dishes. In addition, most American’s struggle to meet their daily requirement of fiber and potassium on a regular basis – incorporating white potatoes into the diet is simply one way to possibly help individuals meet those needs.
And enjoying potatoes, white or otherwise, can be quite simple. Yet if you aren’t quite sure where to start, here are a few healthy potato options to get you going:
Add some herbs. Instead of flavoring your mashed potatoes with loads of butter, consider going light on the golden stuff and instead add flavor with a few of your favorite herbs. Chives is a favorite, but you can get creative with garlic, parsley, rosemary or basil.
Bake it with salsa. Baked potatoes can go from healthy to unhealthy very fast. Keep it healthy, by topping it with salsa, fresh veggies, non-fat yogurt and/or low-fat cheese.
Roast those spuds. If baked or mashed just isn’t your style, consider roasting your potatoes. Coat them lightly in olive oil and sprinkle with your favorite seasonings. Toss them in the oven, roast ‘em, and enjoy!
Grill it up. Cut up your potatoes into slices or wedges, brush over with olive oil, and place on the grill. Yep, its that easy and a great way to keep your spud healthy.
APRE’s research will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal for publication.
The Alliance for Potato Research and Education (APRE) is 100% dedicated to expanding translating scientific research into evidence-based policy and education initiatives that recognize the role of all forms of the potato-a nutritious vegetable-in promoting health for all age groups.