(BPT) – You don’t have to choose between foods that taste good and foods that are good for you. In fact, America’s most loved vegetable — the potato — loves you right back. Whether you’re fixing a romantic dinner for two, a family meal or a tasty snack, this versatile nutrient-dense vegetable brings a lot to the table.
For home cooks inspired by plant-based ingredients, potatoes add so much to an array of recipes, ranging from special occasion entrees to globally inspired dishes and more.
Here are the top five ways potatoes love you back:
1. Potatoes show your body love.
As a nutrient-dense vegetable, potatoes can stay at the top of your grocery list in February and beyond. A 110-calorie, skin-on medium (5.3 ounces) potato delivers:
- 26 grams of good carbs to fuel you — whether you’re working out or just running errands.
- 3 grams of protein, as an affordable and plant-based protein option.
- More potassium than a banana: Potassium is an important mineral for an overall heart-healthy eating pattern (hey, Valentine!). Potatoes are a food with one of the highest levels of potassium and are considered a good source, providing 15% of your recommended daily value per serving (620 mg).
- 30% of your daily recommended vitamin C requirement, especially top of mind this winter season.
- ZERO fat, cholesterol, gluten or sodium, to suit your health goals.
2. Potatoes have good carbs that love you back.
The fact is, not all carbs are created equal. Some emerging research suggests the starch in potatoes that’s greatly increased through heating and cooling them, called resistant starch, may deliver similar health benefits to dietary fiber. Dietary fiber, like the 2 grams found in a skin-on medium potato, has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including leaving you feeling satisfied and not hungry again for a while.
Registered Dietitian Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, LD, advises including foods you love, like potatoes, in your daily diet and that all foods — yes, including your favorites — belong in your diet.
“Carbs should have a place on your plate every day. Not all carbs are created equal, so whenever possible, reach for an option that provides key nutrients too,” said Harbstreet. “Potatoes deliver a nutritional punch and are easy to incorporate into special occasion meals and everyday eating.”
3. Potatoes show your wallet some love, too.
Not only do potatoes taste great, they’re also an affordable, nutrient-dense vegetable that provides more nutrients per penny than most other vegetables. And, if you are looking to amp up the fiber content of your daily diet, potatoes are one of the least expensive sources of fiber out there.
4. Potatoes are beloved the world over.
It’s not just America that has enjoyed a long-lasting love affair with the potato. Potatoes are a staple in nearly every cultural cuisine, so they’re uniquely suited to deliver today’s most on-trend and craveable global flavors. Using the familiar potato as your base, you can honor and explore plenty of tantalizing cuisines from around the globe.
5. Potatoes create dishes you and your loved ones will love.
From the classic fluffy baked potato to the nutty and buttery fingerling, the many varieties of the potato have inspired — and continue to inspire — endless recipes using fresh, frozen or dehydrated potatoes. From the simple to the complex, potatoes elevate any dish with amazing taste and good nutrition.
No matter your nutrition goals or eating preferences, all foods fit within a balanced diet and you don’t have to sacrifice those you love. By creating your meals around whole foods you already enjoy, like potatoes, you can sprinkle in some fun. For example, for a romantic Valentine’s meal, pair Chimichurri Twice Baked Potatoes with a steak and leafy greens. Or enjoy Salt and Pepper Air Fryer Chips with a whole food-based dip — like guacamole or hummus.
No matter how you slice it, potatoes are a good carb and nutrient-dense vegetable that loves you back in so many ways. For more amazing recipe ideas using nutritious, delicious potatoes, visit PotatoGoodness.com.