Are Baked Potatoes Good for You?

Are baked potatoes healthy? Conventional wisdom says that for those who are on a weight loss plan, they are not. However, a baked potato is surprisingly nutritious and may actually be a healthy component of a weight loss diet. Let’s talk about whether baked potatoes are good for you and how they can be properly enjoyed.

Are Baked Potatoes Good for You?

Yes they are. A large, plain baked potato has about five grams of fiber and protein, which is about 25% of your recommended daily fiber intake and 10% of your recommended daily protein intake. The baked potato is also high in potassium, a very important nutrient that helps keep blood pressure low. Additionally, a baked potato has practically no fat (saturated or unsaturated) or cholesterol, so it’s very heart healthy.

But are baked potatoes good for you with all of their calories? A large baked potato has fewer calories than you might think - only a little over 200 calories. You can use healthy toppings like chives, low fat cheese and pepper to keep the flavor high and the calories low.

One thing to keep in mind: baked potatoes are a high glycemic food, which means diabetics may have to carefully watch how many baked potatoes they eat, to avoid the risk of raising their blood sugar.

Have you heard that baked potatoes can cause cancer? This sentiment became widespread when studies found that acrylamide caused cancer in lab test animals. Acrylamide is a substance is formed in starchy foods when they are cooked at high temperatures. However, the amount of acrylamide that may exist in a baked potato is far less than what caused cancer in lab test animals. Also, remember that the highest potential levels of acrylamide exist when potatoes are fried or baked at high temperatures for a long time.

How to Enjoy the Most Benefits of Baked Potatoes

Are baked potatoes good for you? Yes they are. How to get the most out of it?

How to Prepare

Unless time is of the essence and you don’t care about having the best baked potato possible, microwaves should be avoided. Yes, it’ll work, but the potato skin will be wilted and have no flavor. The bottom of the baked potato will also become soggy.

The best way to prepare a baked potato is to use an oven. This will produce the best tasting baked potato possible with the perfect texture.

Cooking with Aluminum Foil: Necessary?

Using aluminum foil is only required if you really enjoy a soft and chewy skin on your baked potato or are cooking it with an open fire. Otherwise, save the aluminum foil and instead prepare the baked potato by covering it with olive oil and salt. This properly baked potato will have a skin that is slightly chewy, but is still crispy. The inside will also be more evenly cooked. The crispiness will allow you to properly split and top your baked potato without it falling apart.  

Use Healthy Low Fat Topping

One of the reasons why baked potatoes are such great additions to any diet is that they’re low in fat and cholesterol. However, adding the wrong toppings can eliminate this great feature of baked potatoes. There are plenty of low fat topping possibilities such that baked potatoes are still low in fat, but still taste great. Low fat toppings include adding herbs and spices, like thyme, rosemary or an herb pre-mix such as Mrs. Dash.

Other creative options for toppings include using salsa, mustard, hummus, low-fat yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese or low-fat shredded cheese like sharp cheddar. For added nutrition, vegetables like bits of cauliflower, corn or broccoli can be used as a topping in addition to shredded cheese.

Tasty Recipe for You: Twice Baked Potatoes

Ingredients

Directions

- Two large russet potatoes

- ½ cup of low fat cottage cheese

- 1 egg yolk

- 1-2 scallions (chopped)

- 1 tablespoon of chopped dill

- ½ teaspoon of salt

- ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

1. Bake both russet potatoes at 400 degrees in an oven for about 5-10 minutes.

2. Scoop out the inside potatoes, but leave enough to create ¼” potato shell.

3. Blend the potato insides with the cottage cheese and egg yolk. Add salt, dill, scallions and pepper. Can add more or less, to taste.

4. Add potato mixture back in the two potato shells and bake until completely heated through (15-25 minutes).

 
 
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