Potatoes are often considered a fattening, starchy, empty-calorie side dish. This is considered one of the main reasons why, according to USDA data, potato consumption is declining. In fact, recent data show that we eat about 50 pounds of potatoes per person every year, down from about 60 pounds per person in 1996.
Despite more Americans dropping potatoes from their diet like well, a hot potato, they’re still the most popular vegetable (thanks to french fries and potato chips). If you enjoy them baked, roasted or boiled, they can be a waistline-friendly choice, but eating your spuds as chips or fries–the way many Americans prefer them–can put you on the fast track to getting fat.
Enjoying Potatoes: At-Home vs. Eating Out
When we’re at home, we eat the majority of our potato servings as chips, followed by baked or boiled. But when we’re eating out, french fries is how we prefer our potatoes, followed by mashed and baked or broiled.
Potato Nutrition Facts
According to the USDA Nutrient Database, a small baking potato (4.5 oz) has about 100 calories and a medium baking potato (6 oz) has 168. But it also packs 4.5 grams protein, 4 grams of filling fiber and nearly half of the vitamin C you need in a day. A potato also has more blood-pressure lowering potassium along with B-vitamins and several other vitamins and minerals. While baked potatoes have a high glycemic index, new potatoes or fingerlings are lower so they’re always an option.
How America Eats Potatoes
Use this chart to make smarter choices when enjoying spuds.