If you think sweet potatoes are the only potatoes that belong in your diet, think again. A new report from the Institute of Medicine claims that potatoes provide healthy amounts of potassium and fiber to your diet—and you probably aren’t getting enough of either, since Americans are falling short of the recommended targets for starchy vegetables.
Potatoes provide not only fiber and potassium, but complex carbs that allow you to digest slowly, feel fuller longer, and maintain sustained energy during workouts. “One of my go-to snacks throughout the week are all-natural, lightly salted potato chips,” says Jimmy Minardi, ISSA-certified personal trainer and founder of Minardi Training in New York City. “If you eat simply—chips made with just some sunflower seed oil and sea salt, you are still eating something with dietary benefits.”
That means you don’t have an excuse to go out and stuff your face with fries, or buy the biggest bag of sour cream and onion chips you can find—loading up on additives and loads of fat is going to negate any benefits of incorporating white potatoes in your diet. “The key is knowing that there is a place for a variety of food in your diet, and that you shouldn’t just write off any certain type of food,” says Minardi. “It’s all about keeping it simple and keeping it efficient.”
So next time you are craving a baked potato, consider going for it, and eat the skin! You’ll be getting 15 percent of your daily fiber, and over 25 percent of your daily dose of vitamins B6 and C. Just make sure you keep it under control with the bacon and cheese.