7 Potato Recipes That Are Actually Good for You – Everyday Health

From healthy fries to potato skins, these nutritious spins on the classic carbohydrates are fast, easy, and delicious.
Botanically, potatoes are a vegetable, but nutritionally, they’re mostly carbohydrates, which is probably why you won’t find them at the top of any “healthiest foods” lists. A medium-size russet potato with the skin contains 164 calories and 37 grams (g) of carbs, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). But spuds aren’t all bad — they deliver protein and fiber (5 and 4 g, respectively, in the same-size serving), are naturally fat-free, and are a good source of B vitamins and potassium.
While all white-fleshed potato varieties tend to be comparable nutritionally, they do have slightly different tastes and textures that work for different dishes. For example, russet potatoes have a light, fluffy flesh that makes them well-suited for baked potatoes. Yukon gold potatoes have a naturally rich, buttery texture that lends itself perfectly to creamy mashed potatoes. If it’s size that matters most for your dish, baby or petite potatoes could be the perfect fit. No matter which variety of potato you serve, in their natural form, they’re a great addition to a healthy diet.
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The real problem with potatoes tends to be how they’re served. In the United States at least, most of these tubers are consumed in a processed form: as potato chips, french fries, or other packaged products. Between 2017 and 2019, roughly 65 percent of all potatoes sold were used in processed food, according to a USDA report released in September 2020. Often, those preparations add fat and salt while stripping away nutrients like fiber. Meanwhile, restaurant baked potatoes come loaded with butter, sour cream, bacon, cheese, and even chili.
There are definitely better ways to prepare them, and a lot of reasons why you should. In one study, published in January 2020 in the British Journal of Nutrition, 50 healthy adults who ate nonfried potatoes every day for a month had a better-quality diet overall, and showed no adverse impact on cardiovascular health, than when they ate an equal amount of refined grains instead of potatoes. In fact, an even more recent study, published in June 2021 in Nutrients, indicated that the increased dietary potassium from baked or boiled potatoes helped lower blood pressure in 30 at-risk adults.
Potatoes tend to last longer than many other vegetables, and are a neutral base for so many other flavors. They’re also inexpensive, filling, and versatile enough to eat every day. Just remember to treat them more like pasta than lettuce when it comes to portions. These seven recipes will help you discover how to enjoy the healthier side of spuds.
There’s nothing simpler or more divine than roasted vegetables. Here, the starchiness of the potatoes is complemented by carrots, zucchini, and onion to add color, flavor, and additional nutrients to this scrumptious side dish. Simply prepared with seasonings you already have on hand, this vegetable dish comes together quickly even on the busiest weeknight.
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Nutrition per serving (serves 6): 125 calories, 5g total fat (0.7g saturated fat), 2g protein, 20g carbohydrates, 3.2g fiber, 3g sugar (0g added sugar), 196mg sodium
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The only problem with french fries is that they’re traditionally deep fried, which adds loads of calories and unhealthy saturated fats to a naturally fat-free food. In this version, you’ll swap the deep fryer full of unhealthy oil for an oven and a touch of extra-virgin olive oil. Leave the skin on, because it contains about half the fiber of the whole potato, research shows. And fiber is a major boon to your health, helping with regularity, lowering cholesterol levels, and maintaining a healthy weight and blood sugar levels, according to Mayo Clinic. The flavor of Parmesan cheese is nice and strong, so a little goes a long way, which works out perfectly nutritionwise — lots of flavor for very few calories.
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Nutrition per serving (serves 6): 163 calories, 5g total fat (1.1g saturated fat), 4g protein, 25g carbohydrates, 2.7g fiber, 1g sugar (0g added sugar), 191mg sodium
You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy this soup and reap its healthy benefits. As Cleveland Clinic points out, more plant-based foods like this dish in your diet may help decrease blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. Indeed, a study published in the September 2021 Journal of Urologyfound that in men younger than 65, a plant-based diet decreased the overall risk of prostate cancer by 19 percent and the risk of dying from the disease by 47 percent.
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Nutrition per serving (serves 8; 1 cup): 173 calories, 6g total fat (0.8g saturated fat), 4g protein, 29g carbohydrates, 3.3g fiber, 4g sugar (0g added sugar), 400mg sodium
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This recipe swaps traditional mayonnaise, which is high in calories, sodium, and saturated fats, according to the USDA, for olive oil, which is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats. Some preliminary research cited by the American Heart Association found that olive oil in the diet may decrease the risk of heart disease. In addition, because the potatoes in this recipe are cooked and then cooled, some of the starch becomes what is known as resistant starch, according to a study published in October 2016 in Food Chemistry. As a study in the October 2017 American Society for Microbiology points out, resistant starch is somewhat difficult to digest, which means that you’ll get fewer calories and carbohydrates from the potatoes when they are prepared in this way. This research also suggests that resistant starch can function as a prebiotic, meaning it may lead to improved gut health with regular consumption.
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Nutrition per serving (serves 6): 156 calories, 5g total fat (0.6g saturated fat), 3g protein, 29g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 0g sugar (0g added sugar), 350mg sodium
Baked potatoes are a surprisingly simple way to get dinner on the table in a flash. And there’s no faster way to “bake” a potato than in the microwave. While baked potatoes are usually piled high with unhealthy ingredients such as cheese, bacon, sour cream, and butter, they can be a perfect base for healthy ingredients too. Here, they’re piled with a spinach salad, which adds fiber and iron, according to the USDA.
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Nutrition per serving (serves 4): 351 calories, 17g total fat (3.3g saturated fat), 8g protein, 44g carbohydrates, 5.5g fiber, 5g sugar (0g added sugar), 172 mg sodium
Yukon gold potatoes have a naturally creamy texture when mashed — no need for unhealthy fats like butter or cream. Starting the potatoes in cold water may take a bit longer, but it allows them to cook more evenly, which is the key to a lump-free mash. Cutting the potatoes all the same size is important for the same reason. This recipe uses broccoli to pump up the nutritional content, with folate, vitamin C, and vitamin K for very few calories, per Harvard Health Publishing. Pesto adds a blast of flavor, but look for one that uses a healthy unsaturated fat, such as olive oil, high up on the ingredients list.
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Nutrition per serving (serves 6; about ¾ cup): 203 calories, 6g total fat (1.3g saturated fat), 7g protein, 35g carbohydrates, 5.6g fiber, 3g sugar (0g added sugar), 416mg sodium
Potato skins are another traditionally unhealthy way to serve potatoes. Not so with this recipe, which uses cheese as a condiment and not a main ingredient. Mushrooms are an excellent source of umami, the savory fifth type of taste (along with sweet, sour, salty, and bitter). As Harvard Health Publishing points out, adding them to a dish brings a savory and meaty flavor without any of the health detriments of meat.
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Nutrition per serving (serves 4): 166 calories, 8g total fat (1.6g saturated fat), 4g protein, 22g carbohydrates, 2.6g fiber, 1g sugar (0g added sugar), 231mg sodium
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