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This Spud's for You

Potatoes are a nutritional bargain.

By Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist
NDSU Extension Service

The world's largest potato weighed more than 18 pounds,
according to Guinness World Records. I think I was served its
slightly smaller cousin recently at a restaurant.

I didn't mind getting a giant potato stuffed with chili and
cheese. I like potatoes.

I appreciated the generosity of the restaurant, too. They gave
me enough food for two meals. I brought half of my meal home
for the next day's lunch.

Potatoes are a nutritional bargain. Consider this: A 5.5-ounce
potato has about 100 calories, no fat and 26 grams of
carbohydrate. Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C and
potassium. A potato with the peel provides 3 grams of fiber.

Potatoes have been accused of being "fattening." Yes, they are
a good source of complex carbohydrates. As the recent
"low-carb diet" fad showed, skipping "carbs" doesn't mean
you'll lose weight.

Excess calories from any source can add extra "padding" to our
bodies. The calories can be from any source. We need a balance
of protein, fat and carbohydrate to stay healthy.

If maintaining your waistline is your concern, don't shun
potatoes. To keep calories in check, limit the amount of
high-fat, high-calorie toppings on potatoes.

For example, a 100-calorie potato with no fat becomes a
"stuffed potato" with 482 calories and 36 grams of fat when 2
tablespoons of butter, 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese and 2
tablespoons of bacon bits are added. To reduce calories and
fat, use low-fat toppings such as light sour cream,
reduced-fat cheese or smaller amounts of high-fat toppings.

When selecting potatoes at the grocery store, look for firm,
smooth potatoes. Avoid potatoes with wrinkled skin, soft
decayed areas, cuts or bruises.

Store the potatoes in a cool, dry place and at a temperature
between 45 and 50 degrees. Don't refrigerate potatoes because
the starch they contain will change to sugar, resulting in a
sweeter taste and excessive browning during cooking.

Potatoes are a versatile menu item. They can be baked, boiled,
microwaved, grilled, fried or steamed. They're available in a
variety of forms at the grocery store, including fresh,
canned, instant and frozen.

They're nutritious, easy to prepare and can be topped with a
variety of items, including leftover chili or seasoned meat.
For a quick meal, try these potato toppers:

* Shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onion and reduced-fat sour cream

* Chili with beans

* Taco meat, salsa and reduced-fat Mexican-style shredded cheese

* Spaghetti sauce and Parmesan cheese

* Leftover chopped roast pork or beef with barbecue sauce

* Grilled chicken and ranch dressing

Here's an easy recipe to serve with roast beef and baked

*Rosemary Roasted Potatoes*

* 1 lb. small red potatoes
* 2 Tbsp. olive oil
* 1/2 tsp. crushed dried rosemary
* 1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash potatoes thoroughly. Cut in
half. Arrange in shallow pan. Drizzle with olive oil and turn
to coat well. Sprinkle evenly with rosemary and salt. Bake
uncovered in the oven at 400 degrees, stirring occasionally
until tender (25 to 35 minutes).

Makes four servings. Each serving has 145 calories, 18 grams
of carbohydrate, 7.2 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber and 298
milligrams of sodium.


NDSU Agriculture Communication

:Source: Julie Garden-Robinson, (701) 231-7187,
:Editor: Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136,

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