Potatoes: the surprisingly non-guilty pleasure

11th Aug 2016
Cooking Nutrition

Potatoes tend to be amongst the first foods we slash when we start a new diet, but don’t let the low-carb craze of recent years scare you off this surprisingly nutritious food.

Deep fried or escorted with overly-generous helpings of fats such as butter and cheese as they often are, a potato-rich diet won’t help to bring out the beach body anytime soon; but eliminate the fatty accompaniments and the deep-fat fryer and you’ll find an exceptionally healthy, low calorie, fibre-rich food packed with vitamins. A cooked new potato contains only 26 calories, and a full baked potato with the skin left on will provide you with 12% of your recommended fibre intake whilst at the same time delivering a healthy dose of potassium, copper, vitamin C and stress-reducing vitamin B6.

As well as nutrients, the potato is full of surprises, with new discoveries being revealed every year. Molecules known as kukoamines, which were previously found only in goji berries used in Chinese medicinal tea, are believed to help lower blood pressure and have now been identified by the Institute of Food Research as being in abundant supply in the everyday potato. So don’t be quick to dismiss this gluten free, nutrient-rich superfood that boasts levels of phenolic content (including flavonoids that help protect against respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers) to rival broccoli, spinach and brussel sprouts.

You might have said ‘see ya later’ to the taters in the misguided belief that filling meant fattening, but maybe it’s time to ask yourself if you were too hard on them? Cheap and nutritious; why not rediscover just how much good can be found in the spud?

Here’s a list of some healthy, delicious, and easy-to-make potato recipes to help you rekindle an old flame and welcome the potato back to your table.

Russian salad

The Russian approach to potato salad is delicious, healthy and versatile. Traditionally made with tuna, you can easily pick and choose which ingredients you want, and can add whatever you like.

Shredded chicken with Cornish new potatoes and spring greens

This family favourite is packed with greens and can be made on an extremely modest budget. 

Classic chunky fish cakes

Creamy yet creamless, these fresh fishcakes are simple to prepare and great for the freezer. 

Silky smooth potato, ham, spring onion and chive soup

Another dish that nips the craving for cream in the bud without the guilt – at only 196 calories per serving it’s not a dish you need to punish yourself for enjoying. 

Saag Aloo

Get exotic with this authentic Indian potato dish seasoned with black mustard seeds, grated ginger and turmeric. Great as a side dish to other curries, or on its own with a few slices of fluffy naan bread.