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Healthful, Low-Calorie Potatoes Are No Longer on Dieters' 'Don't' Lists

May 15, 1986|TONI TIPTON

As we continue to become more aware of the important role that certain nutrients, minerals and vitamins play in our general well-being, we begin to take a more serious look at our dietary habits, revising and discarding some previously held notions.

The elimination of starches for weight reduction, for example, is one of these notions. Starches like potatoes, pasta and cereal grains were once considered taboo for anyone interested in shedding a few pounds. Today, however, starches are recognized for their important contribution as a carbohydrate source, and they are being emphasized as part of sensible diet regimens.

Carbohydrates in general and complex carbohydrates in particular are an important element of proper bodily functions and they should be included in the diet for overall vitality. Complex carbohydrates serve as the primary source of energy for the body, but unlike fats and proteins, which also serve in this capacity, carbohydrates are present in the body in very limited amounts and therefore must be replenished regularly. In this way, they can be used directly as a source of energy, stored in the liver for rebuilding muscle tissue or converted and stored for later use.

A diet high in complex carbohydrates, which are also excellent fiber sources, is very beneficial to sound health, and potatoes are an excellent example.

In addition to being a versatile vegetable, potatoes are a nutritional bargain as well. They boast a hefty amount of the Recommended Daily Allowances for Vitamin C, Vitamin B, iodine, thiamine and iron, and at about 110 calories each, they are a waist-watcher's friend. Potatoes can be baked in the conventional oven in about 40 to 45 minutes or in the microwave in about five minutes.

To boil, place potatoes in a heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting lid with about one inch of boiling salted water and cook until fork tender. Steaming potatoes is another option. Simply place on a wire rack in a pan and add water to just below the level of the rack. Steam 30 to 40 minutes if whole, 20 to 25 minutes if cut up. Frying potatoes is another method of cooking, but this is a high-fat alternative. In the recipes that follow, the adaptable tuber is combined with other vegetables and served warm or cold.

POTATO SALAD SLAW 1 1/3 pounds potatoes (4 medium)

2 cups shredded cabbage

1 cup shredded carrots

1 small green pepper, cut into 1-inch strips

1/2 cup sliced celery

Mustard Dressing

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cabbage leaves

Paprika

Cook potatoes in heavy saucepan with tight-fitting lid in about 1-inch boiling water until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and cool potatoes slightly. Peel and cut into 3/4-inch dice.

Combine potatoes, cabbage, carrots, green pepper and celery. Pour hot Mustard Dressing over and toss to coat thoroughly. Mix in salt. Line serving bowl with cabbage leaves, fill with potato mixture and sprinkle with paprika. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 4 servings. Mustard Dressing

3 tablespoons oil

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

3 tablespoons prepared mustard

3 tablespoons water

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 clove garlic, pressed

Combine oil, vinegar, mustard, water, sugar, caraway seeds and garlic in small saucepan and whisk until well mixed. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes. Keep warm.

PER SERVING: 254 calories; 5 gm protein; 36 gm carbohydrate; 11 gm fat; 325 mg sodium; 966 mg potassium.

USRDA Protein 08% Vitamin A 64% Vitamin C 126% Thiamine 14% Niacin 14% Riboflavin 07% Calcium 07% Iron 10% CHEESY SHRIMP POTATOES

4 green onions, chopped

4 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

2/3 cup half and half

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1 cup canned small shrimp

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 baked potatoes

Saute green onions and mushrooms in butter. Add half and half. Whisk in cheese a little at a time. When cheese is melted, stir in shrimp. Add salt and pepper. Spoon pulp from potatoes and mix with cheese mixture. Refill potato skins with mixture. Broil 3 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

PER SERVING: 390 calories; 20 gm protein; 37 gm carbohydrate; 19 gm fat; 439 mg sodium; 979 mg potassium.

USRDA Protein 31% Riboflavin 22% Vitamin A 20% Niacin 20% Vitamin C 59% Calcium 36% Thiamine 13% Iron 13% ITALIAN SAUSAGE POTATOES

6 ounces spicy Italian sausage

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup half and half

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon basil

2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 baked potatoes

Remove casings from sausage. Break sausage into small pieces and saute with garlic. Add half and half, tomato paste and basil. Whisk in cheese a little at a time. Add salt. Spoon pulp from potatoes and mix with cheese mixture. Refill potato skins with mixture. Broil 3 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

PER SERVING: 448 calories; 22 gm protein; 36 gm carbohydrate; 24 gm fat; 664 mg sodium; 959 mg potassium.

USRDA Protein 33% Riboflavin 18% Vitamin A 10% Niacin 18% Vitamin C 54% Calcium 34% Thiamine 20% Iron 12% POTATOES LORRAINE

4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and drained

2 eggs, beaten

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