Sweet Potatoes vs. White Potatoes

Which is better, sweet potatoes or white potatoes?potatoes

The honest answer is they are both delicious and nutritious. There is certainly room for all types of potatoes in a healthy diet. Potatoes of all kinds can be prepared simply and in a wide variety of ways. They both provide nutrients that are important for good health and they taste great when mixed together in recipes. Here is a snapshot of what white and sweet potatoes have to offer.

White Potatoes* Sweet Potatoes*
Calories 130 180
Fiber (if skin is eaten) 3 grams 7 grams
Protein 3 grams 4 grams
Carbohydrate 30 grams 41.4 grams
Fat Less than 1 gram Less than 1 gram
Sugar 2 grams 12 grams
Vitamins 29% of your daily vitamin C needs 65% of your daily vitamin C needs
More than 100% of your daily vitamin A needs
Minerals 21% of your daily Potassium needs
13% of your daily Manganese needs
27% of your daily Potassium needs
50% of your daily Manganese needs

*Information based on a one-cup serving including potato skin

Potatoes are delicious, nutritious and low cost. The healthiest potato recipes don’t add a lot of fat and calories. Here are a few from our website that I particularly enjoy.

Add some potatoes to your grocery list today!

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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Storing Fruits and Vegetables

Most of us are buying more fruits and vegetables. That is a good first step.  But should you wash them before you put them away or just before you serve them?  Should you store them in the refrigerator or on the counter?  Will they continue ripening at home?  The answer to these questions is…it depends!

Some fruits have better flavor if they are stored at room temperature. Tomatoes, unripe melons, and tree fruits (pears, peaches and nectarines) should be kept at room temperature so they can ripen and become sweeter.  After they are fully ripe, store them in the refrigerator until you are ready eat them.  Tomatoes will keep longer if stored with the stem side down.

Generally it is better to eat vegetables as soon as possible after picked. However, some vegetables like celery, cabbage, bell peppers and carrots will keep one to two weeks in the refrigerator.

When to wash fruits and vegetables also “depends”. If your produce has dirt on it, wash it before storing.  Otherwise you can probably wait to wash your fruits and vegetables before you eat them. Neither the USDA nor FDA recommends washing fruits and vegetables in anything but cold, drinkable water.  Do not let produce soak in the sink.  You do not need to wash them with special products or dishwashing detergent.  Melons, cucumbers, winter squash, citrus fruit, and potatoes should be scrubbed with a brush. Bananas need to be rinsed off as well.  Imagine how many hands touch the fruit before it gets to your mouth.

The University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension has a handy chart called Garden to Table: Storing Fresh Garden Produce.  I posted a copy on the side of my refrigerator for more specifics for each vegetable and fruit.

Potato Recipes: Healthy, Cheap and Tasty

Do not forget about potatoes when you are looking for a healthy and cheap meal that will fill you up.  I especially like baked and roasted potatoes and try to cook extra so I have a good start for another meal later in the week.

This month’s featured recipe is Loaded Potato Soup.  When you use already-cooked potatoes, you can have this soup on the table in less than 15 minutes.  The recipe calls for peas, but you can substitute other frozen vegetables such as corn, broccoli or mixed vegetables.

The key to this soup and other great potatoes is to BAKE them.  Do not steam them by wrapping them in foil to bake in the oven or paper towels in the microwave.  Check out our video for step by step directions for the Best Baked Potatoes.

Loaded Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 Best Baked Potatoes or 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, cooked
  • 1 tablespoon tub margarine
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper (optional)
  • 2 cups Homemade Chicken Broth, or one 14.5-ounce can low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 slices (3 ounces) American cheese
  • Optional garnishes: Sliced green onion, bacon bits, and/or shredded cheese

Instructions

  1. Remove skins and mash potatoes into small pieces to make about 3 cups; set aside.
  2. Melt margarine in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion and green pepper, if desired. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the broth and heat to a boil. Stir in milk, potatoes, peas, and pepper; heat through, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the cheese slices, cooking and stirring about 2 minutes until cheese melts. Add more milk if soup is thicker than you prefer.
  5. Add garnishes, if desired, and serve immediately.

 

What’s Good about Hash Browns?

Are they inexpensive?  For sure.
Are they healthy?  That depends.

  • If your hash browns swim in oil as they are prepared and then get smothered in cheese … NO.
  • If they are low in fat and sodium … YES.
  • If they have added vegetables … EVEN BETTER!  We’ve explained exactly how to make them that way on the SpendSmart. Eat Smart recipe page.

The Healthy Hash Browns recipe  calls for Best Baked Potatoes, because one secret to great hash browns is starting with great baked potatoes. We do this by baking the potatoes, unwrapped, at a high temperature. (Save the foil for another recipe!)

You can keep baked potatoes for up to three days.  Make sure you let them cool, then place them in a plastic bag and refrigerate.  (If you put them in hot, they will sweat in the bag. Soggy is not good. Dry is not either, so do use the bag.)

TIP – Keep baked potatoes in mind when you already have your oven heated to 425°F. You’ll save energy  if you do not heat your oven just for the potatoes.

In fact, you can do even more than make hash browns with your extra baked potatoes…

  • Add to scrambled eggs with some diced ham and fresh spinach for a yummy egg dish
  • Warm and top with leftover chili, cooked vegetables and cheese, or spaghetti sauce
  • Create a soup with vegetables, legumes, and a low fat vegetable broth.

 

Healthy Hash Browns

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 cups diced Best Baked Potatoes, skins on
  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes, onion, carrot, and minced garlic (if using). Cook about 5 minutes or until boom is golden brown. Flip or stir and continue cooking a few minutes.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (if used).

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