The In Season Vegetable With A Bad Reputation

January 2, 2013   59 Comments

Snack Girl knows how you are feeling right now. Too many bowl games?

Slow Cooker Potato

But, don’t call yourself a “couch potato”. Call yourself a “couch potato chip”. Potatoes are not the same as potato chips.

For example, humans can actually survive healthily on a diet of potatoes supplemented only with milk or butter, which contain the two vitamins not provided by potatoes (vitamins A and D). I would not suggest you try this with potato chips.

Yes, potatoes are nutritious. Here are the nutritional facts for one medium potato:

170 calories, 0 g fat, 0.0 g saturated fat, 37 g carbohydrates, 2.0 g sugar, 5 g protein, 4 g fiber, 25 mg sodium, 4 Points+

and you get 35% of your daily value of Vitamin C and 10% of your daily value of iron.

I happen to really like potatoes because they are cheap right now. I bought 10 pounds for $5 and they are perfect for the cold, wintry weather we are having.

The problem is we load them. Potatoes are not guns. Why we insist on putting sour cream, butter, and bacon on a potato in mounds is a mystery to me because they taste great with very little seasoning. Okay, they also taste great “loaded”, but that is a terrible way to stay healthy.

My suggestion is to seal in the flavor of the potato by baking them in a slow cooker like this:

Scrub your potatoes, dry them, prick them with a fork, wrap them in aluminum foil, put them in a slow cooker on low, and leave them for 7 hours.

What will happen? Well, you will walk in after a hard day and smell the wonderful scent of baking potatoes.

Grab some fresh salsa and a little bit of cheese and have a lighter potato with added vegetables. Add some black beans mixed with corn and some tabasco? How about salt, pepper, and some greek yogurt?

Take a good hard look in your fridge and see what you can find that isn't butter, sour cream, and bacon and put it on your potato.


What do you put on your baked potato?

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 59 )

Okay, I'll be honest here. I love potatoes but was told by a doctor that white potatoes are basically sugar and I should avoid them in my quest to lower my cholesterol, so I have put them in the white bread, white rice category. Am I wrong? I'd be so happy to be wrong. ; )

I use a little Smart Squeeze (Smart Balance Squeeze Butter) and a Laughing Cow cheese triangle. Very good and low WW points plus. I also sometimes use lowfat cottage cheese. Tastes a lot like sour cream. Enjoy!

I hate that potatoes get a bad wrap! I love them!! They are fantastic little vegetable!!!!

Interesting website about the potato by a doctor. Worth reading.

I add steamed broccoli and lowfat cheddar cheese and dinner is done! YUM!

If I eat potatoes, and it's rare, it's a sweet potato. white potatoes have a high GI and are just meh when I try them. so many better options for vitamins, potassium, TASTE and nutrients than a plain jane white potato. I agree with patti's category for white potatoes! I'll leave them out of MY skinny choices for 2013.

Can you cook sweet potatoes like this?

I love potatoes in pretty much any form but french fries (I know I'm weird). To make them healthier, I top them with low fat greek yogurt and a bean salad made of: black beans, kidney beans, white beans, red wine vinegar, olive oil, tomatoes, and cilantro. Sometimes I add corn but not always. I do love them with butter and sour cream but I try to make that a rare treat. I like sweet potatoes but not everyone in my family does. We've found that mixing 1/2 sweet potato and 1/2 yukon gold and mashing them together makes a mix everyone likes.

My RD philosophy: if you like white potatoes eat them! As snack girl posted they have a lot of great benefits when not loaded with fat or when you don't consume the ones the size of your head. Only eaten in large quantities will it effect your triglycerides (not total chol unless loaded with sour cr/butter/bacon). All carbs are sugar when not burned off (used) by the body. Are there better carb choices:sure but do they have to be on the forbidden list- only if you can't control yr consumption. As for GI, it also depends on what you eat the food with, how it's cooked and then when its eaten (potatoes eaten the next day have lower GI). Happy New Year! Hope we can all find peace in what we eat.

No one ever got fat from eating a baked potato. It's what they put on them that matters. Scrub the skin good and eat that also.

Lisa, you are an incredible writer. I can always related to your 'writer's voice.'

Baked/microwaved, plain potatoes can be pretty darned dry and hard to swallow, and that's why I think we are tempted to put greasy stuff on them. I actually like boiled red potatoes with some salt, because they aren't dry. I will sometimes use salsa on a baked potato, but it has to be great salsa as the potato will only taste like salsa.

I like sweet potatoes, microwaved in the peel, and topped with agave nector or real maple syrup and a sprinkle of real cinnamon. This keeps it from being too dry. Sometimes I also top with raw, organic, chopped pecans or walnuts.

Sorry to be dumb, but what is GI?

Will try this tonight with a 4 bean, lean hamburger chili on top. Yumm.

Potatoes are also packed with potassium -- it's in the skin, though, so don't peel them!

Unloaded potatoes are great; thanks for the reminder, Lisa.

When my wife and I are out and let ourselves get too hungry, it's straight to Wendy's for two (or three!) plain baked potatoes. Some salt and pepper and that tides us over for a little while.

This may seem like a weird cooking method -- and it requires a careful watch -- but it yields the buttery-est potatoes I've ever had:

- scrub a potato or two (we buy organics because potatoes are on the "Dirty Dozen" list)

- wrap each potato in a plain white paper towel (or I guess you could use a small, clean rag)

- wet the paper towel completely

- insert the potato/towel combo deep into an oven mitt. (Yes, an oven mitt.)

- fold the end of the oven mitt over and put it in the microwave

- microwave on high for a few minutes (ours take about 5-6 minutes, but better to check it early than to burn down your house)

- CAREFULLY remove the oven mitt from the microwave and CAREFULLY dump the potato(es) on to a plate or something and LET COOL

- when cool, remove the towel and season to taste. (We typically do sea salt and pepper, but there's some African Smoke seasoning from Trader Joe's that my wife likes, I like salsa or spicy mustard...)

I, too, like the Yukons for the above method.

Andy D - At a craft fair I bought a home made fabric container that is to be used in the microwave to bake the potatoes. I could of saved myself some money by using a oven mitt. Same idea. It does work well. I like the idea of the crock pot though for when I make my husband sweet potatoes. Usually I bake 5 to 6 in oven on a Sunday and he has them for the week.

I am trying this today! You give so many unique and inspiring ways of doing things...thanks SG!

@Sue K- I actually bought off ebay a pair of the containers you mentioned and the first one caught fire. It was then that I learned the importance of making the towel completely damp (so that the potato steams, not bakes) and watching it carefully until I get a better feel for size/time calculations!

And I'm with you -- it does work well and makes for yummy potatoes.

But your crock pot idea has me interested -- do you put the sweet potatoes in water in the crock pot and let them cook during the day or something else? Thanks in advance!

Holly...GI is Glycemic Index. It's how fast your body converts carbs to sugars. Google it for the whole story.

Anyone who wants to tell me that I am great writer gets extra points today :)

So, white bread is a processed food, white rice is a processed food - both have the nutrients removed from them. Potatoes have carbohydrates BUT they also have nutrients which makes them a better choice.

Sweet potatoes have even more nutrients than white potatoes (that orange color is Vitamin A, baby) - so if you like them - bake them in the slow cooker too.

Most of us are trying to stop eating crap and potatoes are definitely not crap. That is my take.

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