With a little over seven months until our wedding day (and way less than that for our prenup shoot on the beach!), it’s definitely crunch time for getting back in shape. We have to look our best on our Big Day, so this whole year, we’ve committed to eating healthier and becoming more active. We’ve cut back on heavy meat dishes (like steak and ribs) and gone easy on the carbs. But if there’s one thing we can’t give up, it’s US potatoes.
Courtesy of potatoesusa-philippines.com
As I’ve declared time and again on this blog, US potatoes are my favorite carbs. The great thing is, US potatoes are actually healthier than we realize. US potatoes are actually a good source of Vitamin C (more than one medium tomato!), Vitamin B6, and potassium (more than a banana, did you know that?), among other nutrients. And contrary to popular belief, it’s naturally fat-, sodium-, and cholesterol-free. According to potatogoodness.com, a medium-sized US potato reportedly only contains 110 calories.
Yet how come potatoes have such a notoriously unhealthy reputation? Well, it’s actually what we cook them in and with. Case in point: deep-frying them in cooking oil or smothering them in high-calorie and fattening ingredients.
Photo by Trixie Reyna
So what must a potato-lover trying to get fit do? Play to a US potato’s strengths. Know its various health benefits and know how to properly prepare it so as to get these maximum benefits without the added fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Here are five reasons we must keep US potatoes in our diet (farmfreshdirect.net) and how to prepare them in a way that complements our weight-loss goals. I included some videos for basic ways of preparing US potatoes for our reference, as I’m also learning my way around the kitchen.
1. US potatoes are a good source of potassium and are actually low in sodium
Yoga is my only workout, and brisk walking is my only cardio—so there are times when I fall victim to cramped leg muscles. The cause? Not enough potassium, which my parents blame on my dislike for bananas. Good thing I learned that US potatoes with skin actually contain a lot of potassium, exceeding even that of bananas, spinach, and broccoli! It’s one of the best sources of potassium, actually, plus they are naturally sodium-free. Eating US potatoes totally complements my workout, especially since they don’t make me retain water (provided I don’t smother them in salt). Potassium is also supposed to be “vital for transmitting nerve impulses or signals, as well as helping muscles contract.”
Must-try US potato dish: I love baked potatoes, and I discovered on potatogoodness.com that there’s a healthy way to prepare them, as you will see in the video below:
2. US potatoes are a good source of fiber
Here’s one thing everyone trying to lose weight needs: Fiber. And we can get a lot of it from US potatoes. According to farmfreshdirect.net, “a medium potato with skin contributes 2g of fiber, which provides 8% of the daily value per serving.” It was found that fiber has numerous health benefits, which includes regulating blood glucose, lowering blood cholesterol, and increasing satiety (making you feel full longer), thus helping with weight loss.
Must-try US potato dish: This gives me the perfect excuse to NOT give up mashed potatoes, one of my all-time favorite US potato dishes. I’m glad we can still enjoy them as long as we go easy on the extra fattening ingredients. Here’s a video from potatogoodness.com that shows how to make healthy mashed potatoes the quick and easy way:
3. US potatoes have zero cholesterol and saturated fat
According to the 2010 dietary guidelines by the USDA and Department of Health and Human Services, potatoes have no cholesterol or saturated fat. This is great news for anyone watching their diet, whether to lose weight or to just avoid risks of heart disease.
4. US potatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin C—great for the skin and immune system
As if it’s not nutritious enough, we can also get Vitamin C from US potatoes, which are actually “among the top dietary sources of Vitamin C as they contain 45% Vitamin C—more than one medium tomato (40%),” according to potatogoodness.com. In case you didn’t know, Vitamin C is great for the skin as it acts as an antioxidant that stabilizes free radicals, helping prevent cellular damage, and aids in collagen production. Vitamin C also helps support the body’s immune system—something I really need, since I tend to be more susceptible to illness when I lessen my food intake while increasing my workout.
Must-try US potato dish: Yes to eating more potatoes! I found a new way of preparing US potatoes that I’ve never tried before: Potato Casserole. Here’s another video from potatogoodness.com that shows how quick and easy it is to prepare this dish, which yay, has cheese—I just have to pick the reduced-fat kind.
5. US potatoes are a good source of Vitamin B6—which anybody who works out needs
According to potatogoodness.com, one medium US potato reportedly provides 10% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin B6, which plays important roles in carbohydrate- and protein-metabolism. “It helps the body make non-essential amino acids needed to make various body proteins [and] a co-factor for several co-enzymes involved in energy metabolism… Vitamin B6 is also necessary for the breakdown of glycogen, the form in which sugar is stored in our muscle cells and liver, so this vitamin is a key player in athletic performance and endurance.” This will help us utilize the sugar in our body as fuel! Whether you’re an athlete, you just love to play sports, or you regularly workout and run, getting a daily dose of Vitamin B6 is a necessary part of your regimen.
So you see, we have every excuse to continue to enjoy US potatoes, even when we’re trying to get back in shape. For more US potato recipes, check out potatogoodness.com/potato-recipes! To know more about US potatoes, visit the Potatoes USA Philippines Facebook page.