Did you know Americans eat about 140 lbs. of potatoes each year? And not just in French fries either. The truth is like almost any other food, whether a potato is healthy or not depends on how it's prepared. A hearty veggie, potatoes are high in vitamin C, potassium and are a good source of vitamin B6, fiber and antioxidants. Additionally, some promising research is showing the possibility of potato starch having prebiotic health benefits.
With all the varieties of potatoes and the many ways they can be cooked, it's easy to find a healthy way to prepare this inexpensive root veggie. To make sure you select the best potatoes, check for clean, smooth potatoes that are firm to the touch with no cuts, bruises or discolorations. Storing potatoes is simple. Just use the paper bag method; put unwashed potatoes in a brown paper bag and store in a cool, dark, dry place. But skip the fridge, this will increase their starchiness and cause a slightly sweet, off taste.
When preparing potatoes, make sure to cut away any green areas. It's still safe to eat but the green part tastes bad and can make you ill. Also cut away any sprouting areas or potato eyes before cooking. Using a veggie scrubber to wash your tater under cool running water will get it scrupulously clean.
While the most nutrition is preserved if you cook with the skin on, unless you buy organic, you might want to consider peeling it. Potatoes are on the EWP's Dirty Dozen list for most heavily sprayed produce.
As the weather gets warmer, you can bake your potatoes in a slow cooker; simply stab all over with a fork, wrap in foil and cook on high/low for 8 hours (depends on your slow cooker, which temp you choose and how heavily you load your machine!).
And after your potatoes are baked in the slow cooker, why not clean out the fridge and have a Tater Bar for dinner? You can chop those leftover veggies up, put out the remnants of sour cream, cheese and even marinated artichoke hearts. Use your imagination and enjoy!
Leanne's syndicated newspaper column, The Dinner Diva can be found in 250 newspapers nationwide and in Canada. Her vast broadcast experience includes media satellite tours, QVC several times as well as guesting on several national television shows, including HGTV’s Simple Solutions, ABC Family’s Living the Life, Ivanhoe’s Smart Woman, Small Talk for Parents and Talk of the Town. She has guest chef-ed on the cooking show, Carolina Cooks and has taught cooking classes all over the country for Bloomingdale’s.
In addition, she is a seasoned radio personality. Leanne’s own radio show, Heart of A Woman aired during drive time in two major California markets, Los Angeles and San Diego. Her current show, The Dinner Diva is one of the top Blog Talk Radio shows on the Internet.
On the Internet, she pens the Food for Thought column for the immensely popular, FlyLady.net, with over half a million readers weekly. She has been featured in Woman’s Day magazine, the Chicago Tribune, St. Petersburg Times, Orange County Register—to name a few. Additionally, she is a sought after speaker and has spoken all over the country, with keynote addresses to corporate and non-profit entities. SavingDinner.com
© 2010 Leanne Ely. Used by permission in this publication.
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