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Potatoes as Part of a Healthy Lifestyle

Potato Nutrition

Consumer reports right the wrong of the misunderstood spud

In the May 2010 issue of Consumer Reports, #7 on their list of “On-Health” tips for staying healthy was eating a baked potato. The article explained it would not be that far-fetched if your doctor wrote you a prescription for a baked potato. Why? Here are the proof points they gave readers:

  • “You get all these healthy benefits from one medium-sized potato with skin:

  • You get 925 mg of potassium to help keep your blood pressure in check.

  • You get 50 mg of magnesium to help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

  • You get 5 grams of fiber to help keep your bowels running smoothly and your appetite under control.

When Consumer Reports advocates, good things come!

Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Assn., May 2010


Setting the Record Straight on Potato Nutrition

  • Zero fat
  • As much potassium as 2 bananas
  • 45% of your daily recommended vitamin C
  • Only 100 calories
  • Loaded with fiber

When 96 percent of Americans don’t know the main attributes of potatoes, it's time to pull out all the stops and set the record straight.  In response to the food confusion sweeping the nation, The United States Potato Board (USPB) conducted extensive consumer research and found that only 6 percent of survey respondents thought that
potatoes were rich in vitamin C, when, in fact, one medium (5.3 ounce) potato contains 45 percent of the recommended Daily Value for this essential nutrient.  And, only 34 percent considered potatoes with skins to be rich in potassium, when they are actually an excellent source of this mineral – higher than broccoli, spinach, or bananas.  And, only 4.2 percent of respondents thought that potatoes were BOTH rich in vitamin C and potassium.

But there is good news.  When focus groups were shown the official FDA nutrition label for potatoes, they were thrilled to learn that one of their favorite foods was actually good for them.  They delighted in learning that one medium potato is an excellent source of potassium, rich in vitamin C and a good source of fiber for only 100 calories, with no fat and no cholesterol.

Microwave cooking is beneficial in more ways than one! 

  • The Mayo Clinic suggests cooking potatoes in the microwave helps retain the nutrients of the potato. When vegetables are cooked in water, many of the nutrients are removed. A microwave oven and traditional oven are the best places for cooking potatoes to retain nutrient content. 

  • Steamin' Spuds come in a convenient, microwaveable steamer bag that steams the potatoes and keeps them hot, fresh, and tasty. By using multiple mini-bakers in place of larger Russets, Steamin' Spuds cooking time is drastically reduced!

Potatoes are a popular and healthy choice.

  • Potatoes are one of the most popular vegetables eaten in the
    United States. 

  • The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that
    the average American eats about 130 pounds of potatoes every year.  

According to the USDA, you can almost double your intake of most nutrients by eating both the skin and the pulp of the potato.  The skin is a good source of fiber, iron, and vitamin C.  By eating two small potatoes instead of one larger potato, you actually increase your nutrient intake because there is more skin on two potatoes then on one potato of equal weight.

Getting Kids to Eat Potatoes

Too few fruits and vegetables

Kids, and their parents, should eat at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables - fruits and vegetables supply vitamins, like vitamins A and C, as well as fiber and other important nutrients. American kids eat less than four daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Half of all American children eat less than one serving of fruit per day, and about one in three have less than one daily serving of vegetables, not counting vegetables that are fried. Although vegetables and fruits are not abundant on fast food or restaurants' children's menus, some fast food outlets have added baked potatoes, side salads, fresh fruit cups, and salad bars.

  • Lay out a baked potato bar with chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, grated cheese, reduced fat sour cream, and other favorite toppings. A medium baked potato provides a good source of your child's vitamin C for the day, along with 3 grams of fiber, with skin.

Activities for Kids

Potatoes can be Fun!
Make a Stamp to Decorate a Card!

-large potato
-knife to carve potato
-paper plates
-finger paints
-cards, paper bags, or paper to decorate

  1. Have an adult help you cut a potato in half.
  2. Carve out a shape such as a heart, star, circle, square or use a small cookie cutter to cut a shape into the potato, cutting away the excess.
  3. Put some finger paint on a paper plate.
  4. Dip the potato into the paint.
  5. Decorate wrapping paper, cards or a picture to hang on the fridge!
  6. Make sure to ask what's okay to stamp on, before you stamp on anything, so you don't get into trouble!

Need a fun game for a party?

-brown tag-board or cardboard
-colored construction paper, felt, or foam (found in the kids' craft section of your local craft store)
-masking tape
-washable markers

  1. Have your parents help with the cutting or to draw the face shapes.
  2. Cut a large potato shape from the tag-board or cardboard and draw small curves on it with marker to show the dimples.
  3. Cut eyes, ears, noses, mouths, hair, and any other parts you think the potato should have.
  4. Use the markers to add details to the parts if you like.
  5. Hang the large potato on the wall or a door, wherever your parents want it hung.
  6. Put rolls of masking tape or double-sided tape on the back of the parts.
  7. Blind fold the participants, hand them a part, spin them around, and let them go!

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