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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Hot Potato!


Last weekend I found myself combing an airport concourse in search of a hot meal. Whenever I travel, I always bring healthy snacks. That day I had walnuts, fruit, and oat-based energy bars. But as I stepped off the plane to begin my layover (they really should call it a sit over), I was yearning for “real” food. The minute I looked at the map, I knew just what I wanted – fresh Mex! As a trekked down the hall, my mouth was practically watering at the thought of a piping hot bean burrito with fresh guacamole and salsa.

But when I arrived at the spot, a gigantic “coming soon” sign stole the wind from my sails. I must have stood there for 2 minutes trying to process the situation (did I mention I was exhausted and hungry?). When I finally accepted that I couldn’t “will” the restaurant to open, I skulked off to find an alternative. After rejecting any and all options at two venues, I found a winner – a spud saved the day! Now, some of you may be thinking, “Aren’t potatoes fattening?” or “I thought all white foods were bad.” Well, no and no. Potatoes (even the white variety) are actually little nutrition bundles of joy (complete with their own edible packaging).

One cup (size of a baseball) of a baked potato with the skin provides over 25% of the vitamin C we need daily, along with 15-20% of a day’s vitamin B6, copper, and potassium - all key nutrients for health. In fact, a tater provides more potassium than a banana, and scientists have linked a natural spud substance called kukoamines to blood pressure control (who wouda thunk it?).

And, the calorie price tag is minimal – about 130 per cup (roughly 6% of an average healthy adult’s daily calories needs). They also pack about 3 grams of filling dietary fiber. So all in all, they’re pretty darn good for you (aside from being incredibly tasty). Mine came with a tiny container of trans fat free margarine which added a reasonable 50 calories. And as you can see from the photo, I doctored it up with some black pepper before I asked it to say cheese (I can only imagine what my fellow passengers were thinking!).

Ok, you know I love food trivia, so here we go:
-There’s a potato museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico
-The top potato producing country in the world is China
-Potatoes are sometimes referred to as murphies
-Potatoes are harvested somewhere in the United States every month of the year
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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