August 19, 2010

Celebrating National Potato Day

Today is National Potato Day. Potatoes are a high-carbohydrate starchy food providing about 130 calories and 3 grams of fiber in a small potato (1 3/4" - 2 1/2" in diameter). All potatoes are a good source of vitamin C and potassium. People often wonder how much "better" sweet potatoes are for them than white potatoes: from a calorie and fiber standpoint white and sweet potatoes are about the same, with sweet potatoes being a significantly better source of vitamin A and beta carotene.

According to the United States Potato Board the average American consumes 125 pounds of potatoes per year. Potatoes often get a bad nutritional rap: in their original form they're fine - but most Americans like their potatoes fried in oil and salted to the max. The majority of US potatoes are turned into frozen french fries:
  • 34% of American potatoes are consumed as frozen french fries
  • 27% as Fresh potatoes
  • 13% as potato chips

Not surprisingly Idaho is the top potato producing state, followed by Washington, Wisconsin, Colorado and North Dakota.

If you like potatoes, keep them baked or boiled and away from the salt and fat. Potatoes are a rather nutrient rich carbohydrate choice, but the calories can creep up if portion sizes do. 

On this National Potato Day, expand your potato horizons by trying this easy, nutritious and delicious Roasted Sweet Potato recipe from Cooking Light Magazine.