You Can Have Your Potato and Eat it Too!

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Low-kilojoule, naturally fat-free and a great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals the humble spud gets its bad rap from the way it often gets prepared and the kilojoule laden cream, butter or mayonnaise that gets added. However, with a little consideration you can prepare a nutritious and lip smacking meal.

5 reasons to enjoy potatoes this winter and not feel guilty

1.In an average 100 grams of boiled potato with the skin on, you’ll find only 354 kilojoules and only 0,1 per cent is fat, which makes it ideal if you’re watching your weight.

2.Potatoes release their carbohydrate content pretty readily and this makes them an ideal alternative to the sweet energy gels. Karlien Smit, a sports nutritionist from the Sports Science Institute in Cape Town, says “A great high GI boost during a race is mashed potato. Scoop the mash into a sandwich bag, squeeze it into the corner and knot it. You can keep this in your pocket and just bite the tip off, for a quick savory energy boost.”

3. Potatoes contain large amounts of vitamins such as Vitamin C and a fair amount Vitamin B1. The skin and area just below have the highest concentration of Potassium — a good reason not to peel them. Eaten with the skin, potatoes are more nutritious and have a lower glycaemic index, which means they release their energy more gradually and you feel full for longer after eating them.

4. Although they lack essential amino acids on their own, combine a potato with animal protein and, as a mounting body of research suggests, the combination helps to improve recovery rates and muscle repair and can also enhance endurance.

5. When boiled for a shortest amount of cooking time, it helps to conserve the vitamins and minerals. Of course, you may want to add a little flavor — a good idea would be to add adding a little extra virgin olive oil (fat), vinegar (acid), a few chopped raw vegetables (fibre) improve the taste and nutritional value.

According to dietician, Renee McGregor, a baked sweet potato makes an excellent meal the night before a race. Split the baked sweet potato and fill it with roasted Mediterranean vegetables, mixed with a little garlic and olive oil and topped with about 40 grams of crumbed feta cheese. Sweet potatoes release energy slowly providing some immune-boosting beta-carotene, with extra calcium from the feta.