Potatoes are versatile, delicious and inexpensive. You can get a great carb load from a potato without many of the ugly features of pasta, such as processed grains. One cup of mashed, boiled or baked potato contains more run fueling complex carbohydrates than one cup of your favorite noodle as well as loads of vitamins and minerals. With russet, red, yellow, sweet and purple all packing a nutritional punch pasta can’t deliver, potatoes are a great way to power your workouts.
Easy to digest, potatoes will keep you safe from stomach issues during a long run and save you time in the kitchen. Mashing and freezing potatoes is a great way to have a healthy food quickly in hand. The tubers also rank highly on the glycemic index which means the carbs get into your bloodstream quickly, giving you a boost right away. Add protein or low fat cheese for a slower burn and steady source of energy.
More good news? The rumors are false. All of the nutrition isn’t in the skin. You’ll miss out on about half of the available fiber by peeling it but most of the good stuff hides in the flesh. Craving fluffy white mashed potato? One big russet contains 63 grams of carbs, zero grams of fat (!), eight grams of protein, 64 percent of your daily vitamin C, 53 percent of vitamin B6 and 1,600mg potassium. A medium banana contains only 425mg potassium, making the potato a better way to help your muscles work and keep fluids balanced. Want a baked sweet potato instead? One cup will give you 700 percent Daily Value vitamin A, zero grams of fat and 65 percent of vitamin C. Both varieties are rich in antioxidants, calcium and magnesium while lacking in cholesterol which makes them heart healthy snacks as well.
Unfortunately, you’ll still need to be careful about those fried potatoes. The frying process wrecks the nutritional value and the huge volumes we consume is part of the reason spuds often get left out of dinner plans.
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