5 ways potatoes can help power your fitness goals

(BPT) – Many people’s goals involve improving their health — exercising more, eating better and losing weight. Sticking to a plan can be hard, but a staple item in your kitchen can give you a leg up.

Potatoes are a nutrient-dense vegetable. Per 5.3-ounce serving, they have more potassium than a banana and more vitamin C than a tomato. Packed with energy and affordable, they deliver more nutrients per penny than most other vegetables.

But how can potatoes help achieve your goals? Let’s start with eating better. Here are five ways this vegetable can play a key role in many of the most popular approaches to eating well:

  • 1) Plant-based diets: Plant-based diets are a growing trend, but getting enough high-quality protein is important. Potatoes provide 3 grams of plant-based protein, which is more than other commonly consumed vegetables except dried beans. Try some Vegan Mashed Potatoes with Kale.
  • 2) Whole30: According to Whole30, “Potatoes of all varieties are real, nutrient-dense foods,” and the guidelines encourage mashing, baking or roasting potatoes. Try a Frittata with Potato Crust.
  • 3) WW (formerly Weight Watchers): For people on this popular plan, potatoes are a ZeroPoint food because they’re “filling and nutritious.” Try 12 Surprising Ways to Cook with Potatoes from weightwatchers.com.
  • 4) Mediterranean diet, DASH diet and flexitarian diet: U.S. News & World Report has ranked these as best overall diets as chosen by a panel of health experts, and potatoes are a staple in all three. Try some Manhattan Paella.
  • 5) Gluten-free diets: Potatoes are naturally gluten-free, and they can help provide several of the nutrients often inadequately consumed by people following gluten-free diets, such as fiber, thiamin, folate, magnesium, calcium and iron. Try a Gluten-Free Spiralized Hash Brown Casserole.

Along with being nutrient-dense, some research suggests that potatoes are one of the most filling foods you can eat. Studies indicate that they may stave off hunger better than common sides like pasta, rice and bread.

Beyond eating well, working out more is a resolution for many people, and carbohydrates provide important fuel for muscles during exercise. However, not all carbs are created equal. A medium potato has 26 grams of quality carbs, which is important for optimal physical and mental performance. Potatoes also deliver the energy, potassium and vitamin C needed to fuel your workout. In particular, the potassium is perfect for aiding muscle, cardiovascular and nervous system function during long endurance events.

On a final note, you may believe that sweet potatoes are healthier than regular potatoes, but they’re more alike than you think. They provide similar amounts of key nutrients like protein, potassium and vitamin B6, all of which contribute to a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet. They’re also both included on the FDA’s Top 20 Raw Vegetable list, and they’re similar in calories and carbohydrates.

Visit www.potatogoodness.com for more information, recipes and inspiration.