While sweet potato fries are really good, are they healthier than so-called regular fries? And are white potatoes really as bad as people make them out? Here are the facts about sweet potatoes and white potatoes.
SWEET POTATOES (are NOT YAMS)
Sweet potatoes are great sources of beta-carotene, providing us with our vitamin A for the day. They also have vitamin C, 540 mg potassium, 3.8 g of fiber , 2.3 g of protein and no fat all for a total of about 100 calories in a medium-sized potato (about the size of a computer mouse).
Now, Julienne and fry them and the great nutritional profile changes: calories go from “low” or “no” to “uh-oh.” The equivalent potato now cut up into fries becomes 190 calories, from added 9 grams of fat, and high in sodium (which is before had very little).
Sweet potato casserole, sweet potato pie, and other sweet potato treats have added sugar, milk, eggs, and other ingredients depending on the recipe. These other ingredients turn the sweet potato super-food into a calorie laden side dish.
A basic baked sweet potato or mashed sweet potatoes (Ore-Ida carries sweet potato variety in their Steam-n’-Mash line) are a healthy side dish to meals year round.
POTATOES (OF THE “WHITE” VARIETY)
Most people refer to Russets as white potatoes and this highly nutritious food is often shunned because of its “high sugar content.” These potatoes have a great nutritional profile as well. Contrary to popular belief it is not equal to eating sugar – it actually has only 2 g of sugar.
One medium baked potato has 443 mg potassium, 1.7 g fiber, 2.2 g protein, and no fat in 100 calories. It also have about a third of our daily value of vitamin C. They have the benefit of beta-carotene that sweet potatoes do, but is has twice the iron of sweet potatoes.
However, the benefits of potatoes go out the window when we convert these nutritional powerhouses into chips, fries and mountains of fat as mashed potatoes with butter and milk (and sometimes cheese). Now quit doing that and have a nearly naked potato for a change.
Bottom line is to keep potatoes in their original form as much as possible. Bake them, steam them, grill them, definitely cook them. Once cooked, keep the preparation simple with as few ingredients as possible.