Potatoes: America’s Favorite Vegetable

January 10, 2006

Potatoes break out of the produce aisle's doghouse to star in healthy sides.

Rin Ran
High Cotton Food Styling and Photography

Long assigned to the produce aisle’s doghouse, potatoes are making a breakout. During the high-protein, low-carb craze, this meat-and-you-know-what staple was transformed into a tuber non grata. Health-conscious consumers began believing that potatoes were diet-sabotaging carb bombs. Then there was that whole “couch potato” thing. All in all, potatoes had a serious PR problem.

But now there’s cause for spud-lovers to rejoice. The consensus in the weight-loss community is that high-protein diets aren’t any more effective than any other kind of diet. The secret to weight loss is calories—fewer of them.

In addition, a group of Australian researchers came up with the Satiety Index to determine which foods are the most filling. Which food did they discover has the most “stick-to-your-ribs” power? The potato. Bravo!

We’ll admit that the potato doesn’t have the charisma of, say, arugula. But let’s take a moment to consider its virtues—besides its hunger-fighting power. It’s cheap. It keeps. It’s available everywhere. It’s nutritious. And a medium-size baked potato has only 130 calories.

Even better, it’s versatile. Its mildness means it blends with anything. Its starch content gives heft to soups, sauces and stews. Texture-wise, it ranges from the creamy-waxy to crumbly-starchy, so it’s at home in just about any dish, chunky or smooth.

So if you’ve been avoiding potatoes, take another look. There’s a reason it’s America’s favorite vegetable. Take that, arugula!

—By Tamar Haspel, a food writer in Marstens Mills, Mass.

Rin Ran

Potatoes: America's Favorite Vegetable

Potatoes break out of the produce aisle's doghouse to star in healthy sides.


Rin Ran

Olive and Potato Salad with Tuna and Red Peppers


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