Busting The Biggest Myths About Potatoes, A Nutritional Powerhouse

Nationally recognized food and nutrition expert shares the health benefits of potatoes plus delicious recipes everyone will enjoy this summer

Published online: Jun 22, 2022 Articles Potatoes USA
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Denver -- With summer kicking off, many of us are looking for new ways to eat healthy without sacrificing taste. Potatoes USA and Cara Harbstreet, registered dietitian and intuitive eating expert, are going on the record to bust some myths – and share some recipes – about America's favorite vegetable, the potato!

Dietary guidance says we're supposed to get 2-3 servings of vegetables a day, and a crowd-pleasing way to achieve that goal is through potatoes.

"Potatoes are vegetables," explains Harbstreet. "You get about a third of your vitamin C for the day from a medium, skin-on potato and more potassium than a banana (620mg vs. 450 mg). They've also got 3 grams of plant-based protein, which is more than any other commonly eaten vegetables, except dried beans."

Potatoes can also be included as part of a weight loss program. A medium potato only has 110 calories and no fat or cholesterol. In fact, potatoes are featured in some of the most healthy and popular diets, including Mediterranean, DASH and Flexitarian. On top of that, there's research that suggests eating potatoes may prevent you from feeling hungry and keep you filled up.

"There are also some major misconceptions about carbs being bad, but we literally could not live without them," Harbstreet said. "They're our brain's primary fuel and a key source of energy for our muscles. Potatoes are a complex carbohydrate, which is a carb food that provides vitamins, minerals and fiber. Most of our carbs should be complex carbs like potatoes."

Another popular misconception is that sweet potatoes are healthier than regular potatoes – but that's just not true. The two vegetables are remarkably similar on a lot of key nutrients, the main difference is that sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, while regular potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C.

"I personally love potatoes so much, and one huge reason is their versatility," said Harbstreet. "I have three recipes that I'd like to share that are healthy, full of flavor and perfect for summer entertaining!"

This first is perfect for Fourth of July entertaining. It's called it the Red, White and Blue Potato Salad and it uses purple potatoes. It's got some delicious ham and walnuts for some crunch, and you can use sherry or white balsamic vinegar for that classic potato salad bite. 

The next recipe is for Grilled Potato Kabobs. Grilling potatoes is a trend for this summer, and when you put chicken, corn, bell peppers and zucchini on the kabob, you really have a whole meal on a stick. The lemon herb drizzle that goes with it gives it a nice zing.

Finally,  On-The-Go Potatoes make a filling, nutritious snack you can take to the pool or the beach or wherever you're headed during the summer's busy times, Harbstreet said.

"It's simply petite yellow potatoes, olive oil, soy sauce, panko, sesame seeds and Chinese 5-spice. This is also a great option for athletes, providing a quick and easy fuel source to power your performance."

For more information or recipe inspiration, please visit PotatoGoodness.com/summer.