5 Ways Potatoes Love You Back

Potato Love

February is for lovers….potato lovers!

Potato Lovers Month continues, and we have some good news! Those humble potatoes that you love to eat baked, mashed, stuffed, and roasted might just have a crush on you. How can we tell? Let’s just say that a little spud bird told us.

No matter how you dish them up, there are lots of reasons to start a healthy relationship with potatoes!

1. Potatoes aren’t afraid of commitment.

Did you know that potatoes with the skin on contain more potassium than a banana and that they’re naturally salt-free? Because potassium is an electrolyte that is essential for proper digestive and muscle function, it’s just one of the many ways potatoes are good to you.

But potassium isn’t just good for your muscles. Research shows that getting plenty of potassium in as part of a low-salt diet just might reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure or suffering from a stroke. Potatoes are looking out for you, because they’re with you for the long haul, baby.

2. They’re a cheap date.

At around just 25 cents per pound, potatoes are one of the cheapest items that you can load into your grocery basket in the produce aisle, so play the field and see what variety is your dream spud! With so many different varieties, you’re sure to find your perfect match.

You don’t need to shower them with expensive ingredients to make potatoes taste great, either. Potatoes love you for you. Mash them with a little milk and olive oil, roast them with oil and fresh herbs, or get fancy and cook up potato tacos for some budget-friendly potato lovin’.

3. They love your kids.

Even better? Your kids love them! Potatoes are a great way to get your kids kids to eat a little bit healthier. Kids can be picky, but potatoes help you sneak a little bit of fiber (2 grams per serving!), vitamin B6, and even vitamin C into their meals. Potatoes have as much vitamin C as a tangerine – who knew?

Try serving your kids some tasty oven fries, mashed potatoes, or yummy potato pancakes (with applesauce for dipping!). We bet that they’ll fall in love with potatoes, too.

4. Potatoes won’t break your heart.

With zero grams of saturated fat and no cholesterol, you can trust your heart to potatoes. There are a lot of factors that play into a healthy heart, and studies show that a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet may help protect your ticker.

Want to take this thing to the next level? Try some plant-based potato dishes like herbed and roasted potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes with Chinese broccoli  to share the love!

5. They know how to be sweet.

Sweet potatoes have a lot of love to give, too! They’re a delicious, healthy, and versatile companion for any meal.

An excellent source of vitamin C to boost your immune system, sweet potatoes are also good for your skin. Like other orange and yellow veggies, sweet potatoes are packed with beta carotene, a vitamin that can help make your skin less susceptible to UV-related damage from the sun and the side effects that can come with that, like wrinkles.

You can eat those sweets baked, roasted, or fried, or you can up the sweet factor even more with dessert recipes like decadent sweet potato cheesecake bars.

What’s your favorite way to spend quality time with potatoes? We’d love to hear your favorite potato recipes in the comments!

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by oliviermartins
 

Meatless Monday: A New Year Resolution Made Easy With Potatoes

Black Bean Chili Potato

Whether you’ve already made your resolutions or are still looking for something meaningful to commit to, we’ve got a good one for you and your family. It’s simple to work into your week but offers a big benefit. It’s called Meatless Monday.

What is Meatless Monday?

Meatless Monday means, for one day a week, you omit meat from your diet. Mostly, to us, it means planning and serving a meal that focuses on vegetables (think potatoes) instead of chicken, beef or pork. Why would you want to do that?

To Improve Your Health

Studies show that diets high in fruits and veggies may reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease, help curb diabetes and fight obesity, and also increase longevity—all good stuff.

To Take Care of the Earth

Because the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of man-made greenhouse gas emissions — even more than transportation — replacing meat in your diet helps reduce your carbon footprint. You’ll also reduce water usage (livestock require lots of it), and help reduce our fossil fuel dependence. Great, right?

Meatless Monday may also mean a lower-calorie dinner on Monday night, so it will fit with your fitness goals, and should save you some money at the grocery store, too.

Even Meat Lovers Can Do It

We are, of course, still meat and potato folks with meat and potato families. Yet we think Meatless Monday is a great idea. Most of us have at least one family member that would not be into tofu, tempeh or trying crazy new diets. As farmers, we work hard all day and need a dinner that both satisfies and fuels us up to work hard tomorrow. In fact, that’s where potatoes come in!

If you focus your meatless meal on potatoes, which are proven to make you feel fuller longer, your family may not even catch on to the fact that there’s no meat with the meal.

Are You In or What?

As an added incentive, we thought you should know one study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine showed that people with weekly health prompts and encouragement responded with improvements in their overall health, eating habits and physical activity levels. Ready to try out Meatless Monday? Here are some delicious potato recipes to help you get started with this easy New Year resolution.

Cheese and Trees Potato Soup

This would make a great Monday night meal. It’s fast, east and filling. Make sure you use vegetable broth or cubes. Look for low sodium for an added healthy boost. Serve this with a big salad that includes cheese, beans and toasted almonds or walnuts. Yum!

Thai Potato and Vegetable Curry

This soup uses a base of coconut milk, which is very tasty and satisfying. While you may be surprised at the fat content, don’t worry. It’s a good fat your body is more likely to use for energy then store around your midsection. This would be great paired with a side dish of whole, in pod edamame, which you can find at most grocery stores in the freeze section.

Baked Potatoes Topped with Vegetarian Chili

On Sunday, whip up your favorite vegetarian chili recipe. On Monday night, throw some PotatOHs in the microwave. Serve together with low fat sour cream or Greek yogurt, shredded cheddar cheese, black beans, chopped onion, cilantro, hot sauce, and whatever else you have on hand that might make a Meatless Monday meal even more awesome.

Are you already planning to do Meatless Monday? Let us know in the comments!

Sweet Potatoes: An Essential Part of Detox Plans

Were there times last year that you ate heavy and you wish you hadn’t? Have you been turning to comfort foods to cope with cold and long winter days, and now you’re not feeling so great? You may need to cleanse your system to flush out all of the bad stuff and get your body back to a good place through detoxification, and sweet potatoes can help.
 

What is Detox?

Detox is a process to eliminate toxins in the body, cleanse organs and replenish your system with healthy nutrients. This is accomplished by eating pure and natural foods that help clean the kidneys, intestines, lymph, liver and skin, and avoiding any foods that can set back or stop the process.
 

Choosing a Detox Plan

There are many ways to detox your body by adjusting your diet, and each plan varies in duration and the amount of food to consume. No matter how you detox, always begin by eliminating incoming toxins. Avoid alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, processed foods and even stress to give your body its best chance at a successful cleanse.

For more information and finding which detox plan is right for you, check out this detox answers and solutions guide. Whichever way you choose, always consult your doctor before beginning any detox plan.
 

Sweet Potato Health Benefits

It is widely known that sweet potatoes are nutritional all-stars. Below are some of the many natural ingredients found in significant levels in sweet potatoes that offer many health benefits and make an essential part of a detox plan.

Antioxidants: boost your immune system and help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease

Beta-Carotene / Vitamin A: sweet potatoes have four times the recommended daily intake of Beta-Carotene, which the body converts to Vitamin A, and helps with immunity, bone development, vision and fighting many types of cancer.

Complex Carbohydrates: take longer to be digested, helping supply the body with energy over a longer period of time

Dietary Fiber: improves cholesterol levels, regulates blood glucose, and keeps your body full longer

Low Calorie: with only 90-140 with skin on, sweet potatoes are easy on the calories

Manganese: facilitates metabolism, helps keep bones strong and healthy, regulates blood sugar levels, and promote optimal function of the thyroid

Potassium: diets high in potassium help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke

Vitamin C: helps with fighting infections, iron absorption, healing wounds, reducing inflammation and supporting the body’s immune system
 

Sweet Potato Detox Recipes

When putting together your detox plan, consider including these cleansing and nourishing healthy sweet potato recipes.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

This richly-colored, flavorful chili is the perfect meal for winter months. Immune-boosting garlic and onion, along with red pepper and lime, combine with black beans and sweet potatoes to make one very satisfying one-pot meal.

Healthy Baked Sweet Potato

Pair sweet potatoes with whatever vegetables you like, top it off with a tasty tahini-based sauce that uses metabolic-enhancing spices and you have a delicious and satisfying dinner that will keep things light on a simple detox diet plan.

Sweet Potato Mash with Chinese Broccoli and Ginger Dressing

A delicious vegan dish, with a good dose of antioxidants plus anti-inflammatory benefits from the ginger dressing. Particularly rich in Vitamin A, this dish will nourish the eyes and skin.

More healthy sweet potato recipes.

3 Natural Ways Potatoes Help Make Your Body Healthy and Happy

Naturally Fat Free

If you are aiming to eat well and lose weight in the new year, and thinking about cutting potatoes out of your diet, STOP! You’ll be missing out on the many superfood health benefits that make potatoes an essential part of a healthy diet and contribute to a weight loss plan.

Potatoes can have lasting and positive effects on your health and well-being. Here are three ways that naturally nutritious and delicious potatoes help your body stay healthy, happy and satisfied.

 

Potatoes help keep your immune system healthy

Vitamin C helps protect your body from infection by keeping your immune system healthy, and helps heal cuts and wounds (perfect if you’re ever a klutz while exercising at home or at the gym). Contributing a whopping 45% of your daily value, potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C.

Also, if you experience chronic illness or fatigue due to sensitivity to gluten, you’ll be glad to know that potatoes are naturally gluten-free!

 

Potatoes may reduce the risk of high blood pressure

According to the 2010 Dietary guidelines by the USDA and Department of Health and Human Services, diets containing foods that are a good source of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

Potatoes are loaded with potassium — more than bananas, spinach or broccoli — and are naturally sodium free.

 

Potatoes are a great part of a healthy weight loss plan

It’s calories that count, not just eliminating foods. Maintaining a good, healthy weight requires burning more calories than you’re taking in. Luckily, one medium-sized (5.3 oz) potato has just 110 calories that are a breeze to burn off. Also, potatoes are 100% fat-free and have zero cholesterol, making them a great meal that will fill you up, not out.

Potatoes also help you feel full longer and eat less. Studies show that potatoes are one of the most filling foods available and stave off hunger better than other common sides, such as pasta, rice and bread.

One wholesome, satisfying potato contributes 2 grams of fiber to the diet, 8% of the recommended daily value. Dietary fiber has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including improving blood lipid levels, regulating blood glucose, and increasing satiety (makes you feel full longer), which may help with weight loss.

Lastly, potatoes contribute 10% of your daily value of vitamin B6, which plays important roles in carbohydrate and protein metabolism, and turning food into energy.