By Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist
Potatoes are one of my all time, absolute, most favorite foods! What’s my guilty pleasure and number one food craving? It’s potato in almost any form. I’d pass on chocolate for a serving of salty sweet potato fries any day. And while these carb-filled gems are often seen as sabotage for health goals and likened to sugar-sweetened beverages, rest assured, they’re better for you than you may think. In fact, both white potatoes and sweet potatoes have merit; read more here in The Battle of Potatoes.
This week I decided to take a spin on a classic appetizer, loaded potatoes. While traditionally these are filled with added oils, fatty cheese, sour cream, processed meats and other nutrition no-nos, I went “Reboot-style” on mine for a fresh and healthy take that doesn’t compromise flavor or pleasure one bit!
There are substitutions and options listed below for all types of veggie-lovers. And for those who aren’t big veggie fans, this is a great way to get more of the good stuff into your diet.
Sweet potatoes are loaded with nutrients, like antioxidant-based vitamin A, beta-carotene and other carotenoids credited with helping reduce cancer risk, preserving vision with age and keeping the immune system strong. Sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of fiber with 4 grams in one medium, baked sweet potato with skin–that’s about 15% of your daily needs. Electrolytes like potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium can also be found in this veggie.
Load up your sweet potato with more plant-based goodness. I topped mine to make it just right for “Taco-Tuesday,” with black beans, red pepper, salsa, tomato, onions, garlic, avocado and fresh herbs. Feel free to swap in other types of beans, nuts/seeds, veggies and herbs of your choice for any flavor or flair. If you include dairy in your diet, a pinch of cheese from a clean source is a nice touch but measure out to keep it to about 1 ounce per potato. Salsa is a great low-calorie, nutrient-rich swap for sour cream. And don’t be alarmed by the size of the potato in the picture… it is organic and did feed my entire family of 4.
Sweet potato: Yam, white potato
Black beans: lentils, chick peas, pinto or other beans
Red pepper: green/orange/yellow pepper, eggplant, mushrooms
Chipotle Spice: cayenne pepper or cracked red pepper flakes
Salsa: Another type of salsa like verde or mango, hot sauce, cashew cream
Kale: spinach, Swiss chard