DENVER — It’s the New Year, which means many of us are trying to eat better, save money and find more time in our day. Cara Harbstreet, registered dietitian and intuitive eating expert, recommends a kitchen hero that’s a solution for it all: the potato!
“Potatoes are America’s favorite vegetable, but they’re more than just delicious,” said Harbstreet. “They’re an affordable, nutritional powerhouse with a long shelf life and faster cook times than you think!”
Providing almost a third of the recommended daily vitamin C, potatoes also have the most potassium out of the 20 most popular fruits and vegetables. They also have 3 grams of plant-based protein, which is more than any commonly eaten vegetables other than dried beans, plus 2gm of fiber to help you feel fuller longer.
Potatoes are affordable and have a long shelf life, allowing families to stretch their dollars. “I know I hate it when I buy vegetables at the store, and they go bad before I have a chance to cook them,” said Harbstreet. “With potatoes, you’ve got fresh produce that lasts for weeks! They’re a great combo of nutrition, value and deliciousness.”
When it comes to carbohydrates, quality matters, and potatoes are a great choice! Carbs are our brain’s primary fuel and a key source of muscle energy. Potatoes are a complex carbohydrate, providing vitamins and minerals. In fact, most of the carbs we eat should be complex carbs like potatoes.
So how can families enjoy this incredible vegetable without being in the kitchen all day? Harbstreet has some hacks to share that will make cooking potatoes a breeze.
“My first tip is to cut potatoes into smaller pieces to roast for faster cooking – or even to heat in the air fryer,” said Harbstreet. “Roasted potatoes are so simple to make and can then be used throughout the week to make dishes like bowls and burritos more filling and nutritious. You can use all kinds of fun seasonings to mix it up, from classics like garlic powder to Za’atar if you’re looking for adventure. Plus, cooked and cooled potatoes have more gut-friendly resistant starch.”
A great example is the Sheet Pan Roasted Turkey and Herbed Potatoes dish. One pan gets you a complete meal, and by throwing in some extra potatoes, you can get a jump start on your cooking for the next few days! And you can do this with multiple combinations of proteins, potatoes and other vegetables you like.
“My next hack is to put your pressure cooker or slow cooker to work,” said Harbstreet. “You can start cooking potatoes in these appliances and then refrigerate them for lightning-fast prep or choose your own adventure meals. Once started in the pressure cooker or slow cooker, it’ll take minutes to finish them in the oven, microwave or air fryer.”
Families can do this with baked, mashed or roasted potatoes, or go for a full meal like Green Chili, Corn and Potato Chowder. The soup can be whipped together in minutes on the stove top after getting the potatoes started in the slow cooker.
“Finally, the freezer is your friend. Cook up a big batch of freezer-friendly potato soup – like this Tuscan Kale and Potato Soup aka Zupa Toscana that you can freeze to reheat and enjoy when you’re ready,” said Harbstreet. “I always recommend freezing soups into smaller portions so you can take out exactly what you need. One tip on this recipe – wait to add the cream until it’s reheated for that just-cooked taste.”
For more information or recipe inspiration, please visit PotatoGoodness.com/WithCara.
About Potatoes USA
Potatoes USA is the national marketing and promotion board representing U.S. growers and importers. Potatoes USA, the largest vegetable commodity board, was established in 1971 by potato farmers to promote the benefits of eating potatoes. For more information on Potatoes USA’s mission to “Strengthen Demand for Potatoes,” visit PotatoesUSA.com.