The potato is a nutritious and versatile carbohydrate that is often cast aside at mealtimes in flavor of rice and pasta. Consider putting potatoes back on your menu tonight, because:
- Potatoes are more nutritious and have fewer kilojoules (1 kilojoule = 0.239 kilocalorie) than pasta or rice per 100 g serve, so they’re a better choice for weight loss.
- They are rich in vitamins C and B, including folate, which is vital for pregnant women or those planning a pregnancy.
- Potatoes are a valuable source of minerals, including potassium, which is important for managing high blood pressure.
- Potatoes are naturally fat- and cholesterol-free, making them an excellent choice for heart health and the management of diabetes.
Nutritional information:1 medium steamed potato (100g) provides:
- Energy: 370 kJ
- Protein: 2.5 g
- Carbohydrate: 20 g
- Fat: 0 g
- Dietary fiber: 2 g
- Vitamin C: 13 mg
- Potassium: 379 mg
- Water: 77 g
- Traces of: thiamin, riboflavin, niacin
What about GI?Although most potato varieties do have a high-GI rating – between 75 and 101 – you can easily reduce their glycaemic effect (spikes in blood-sugar level) by adding good fats to your meal, such as lemon juice or a vinaigrette dressing; fiber foods, such as baked beans or corn; and protein, such as lean meat. By adding these foods to your cooked potato, you will reduce the surge in blood glucose and insulin levels that occurs after eating. This helps to prevent the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and heart and gall bladder disease. The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) believes that both high-GI and low-GI foods can be included as part of a healthy diet. Remember that you can achieve a low-GI diet by eating at least one serve of a low-GI food at each meal, for example, reduced-fat milk, wholegrain bread, green peas or apples.
Potato varietiesMost of us are familiar with four types of potatoes available at supermarkets – brushed, washed, red and white – but there are around 66 varieties grown in Australia. As a general rule, waxy, textured potatoes are best for salads and casseroles because they hold their shape, while ‘starchy’ potatoes are best for mash and chips. Here is a quick guide to potatoes:
King Edward Long, oval shaped with white skin and pink blotches. Creamy, slightly floury textured white flesh. A good all-purpose potato, but perfect for baking.
Pontiac Round, red-skinned with white waxy textured flesh. Great for boiling, salads and chips.
Sebago Oval shaped with creamy colored skin and white flesh. Used for frozen chips. Suitable for all cooking methods.
Coliban White, round-to-oval shaped, that is commonly sold as ‘washed’. A versatile all-rounder with a slightly bland flavor. Perfect for mashing.
Kipfler Cigar-shaped with yellow skin and waxy flesh. Perfect for potato salads and good for baking and boiling, but not suitable for mashing
Nicola Oblong-shaped with yellow skin and a firm, buttery texture. Great for salads, baking, mash and boiling. Has a low-GT rating of 58.
Bintje Long, oval shape with smooth pale-yellow skin and waxy texture, perfect for roasting, salads, soups and casseroles.
Desiree Round, small-to-medium-sized potato with smooth pink skin, creamy, yellow flesh and a delicious buttery taste. Great for roasting, chips and mashing.
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