Did you know that potatoes are actually good for you?
When I think of healthy food, potatoes definitely don’t come to mind. Recently, I volunteered with Wellness in the Schools, a nonprofit organization that “teaches kids healthy habits to learn and live better”. I volunteered with a cooking lab at a school at Miami Dade, and the day I came, they did a lab on potato salad. It’s funny that I was there to volunteer, but ended up learning so much myself!
Potatoes have traditionally got a bad rep because of how they are prepared (often processed and fried) and because of having a high carbohydrate content. Carbohydrates also have a bad reputation, but they are one of three macronutrients (food that form a large part of our diet) and are a main source of energy for the body. Here are the health benefits of potatoes that I learned about:
- One medium size potato (with the skin) packs 13% of our daily fiber needs, 26% of our daily potassium needs, and 15% of our daily magnesium needs. (Cooking Light)
- The skin also contains other nutrients like Vitamin B, calcium, and iron (Livestrong).
- Potatoes are a specific type of carbohydrate, called a starch. Starch is found in foods that come from plants and provide a slow and steady release of energy throughout the day (National Health Service).
When we peel off the skin of potatoes, we lose all these beneficial nutrients and are left with only carbohydrates.
Here’s the recipe from Wellness in the Schools for their healthy potato salad. I used the same recipe to make mashed potatoes by not waiting for the potatoes to cool too long before mixing the ingredients. This recipe is vegan, so it is friendly to any one who is dairy-free!
- 2 pounds of potatoes (I used Yukon gold, but use your favorite! The smaller the potato, the more nutritious it is since there is a larger peel amount per bite)
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 3/8 cup of scallion (I didn’t have this at home, so I used chopped parsley instead)
- 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tbsp honey
- 3 tbsp vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- parsley to top (optional)
- Put potatoes in a pot in cold water, place on high heat for 40 minutes
- Let potatoes cool for 10 minutes. While waiting, mix olive oil, dijon mustard, honey, vinegar, salt, pepper and scallion in a large bowl.
- Chop potatoes in bite size pieces and place in large bowl. Mix until you get a puree (if potatoes are cooler it will take the form of potato salad).