Every September, our family tries to savor the last few moments of summertime by preparing a few of our favorite seasonal dishes. So, we’ll fire up the grill, make a seafood boil, or pack a picnic to enjoy together in the warm sun…one last time before the days get too short here in New England.
This past weekend, we made a batch of tasty potato salad to mark the end of summer. And in a moment, I’ll share with you the recipe—which calls for mustard and vinegar, instead of mayonnaise.
But first, let’s talk a bit about the undeserved, bad rap so often given to potatoes…
Don’t fret about eating potatoes
I know some people who follow the popular—yet overly restrictive—Keto- and Paleo-type diets think that potatoes are strictly “verboten.”
But, as I’ve always said, potatoes can be enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced, Mediterranean-type diet. Indeed, they have a long history of providing essential nutrition to humans…
Remember, the ancient Incan peoples of South America first grew potatoes in the cold, high altitudes of the Andes mountain range. And those potatoes provided important, reliable nourishment in this harsh climate.
Eventually, potatoes made their way back to Europe after their “discovery” in the 16th century by Spanish explorers to the Americas.
Then, by the 18th century, they became a staple in many parts of Europe. And Napoleon widely disseminated them during the early 19th century to his armies as a nutritious, easily stored and transported food. (He famously said, “the Army marches on its stomach.”)
Now, potatoes are indeed a starch. But remember—they’re far more nutritious than other starchy, high-carb foods…
For one, they contain lots of fiber, which helps slow the break-down of starch. It also means they provide a long-lasting source of energy long after you’ve eaten them. In fact, potatoes rank high on the satiety index (meaning you feel full and satisfied after eating them). And with just 150 calories for a medium-sized, boiled or baked potato, you can’t go wrong!
Plus, unlike white bread or sugary foods, potatoes don’t make your blood sugar spike. Therefore, eating potatoes in moderation, as part of a balanced diet, can actually help you manage blood sugar and lower your risk of Type II diabetes (two important conditions to keep in check, especially where your heart health is concerned—as I discussed on Tuesday and Thursday).
In addition, the fiber in potatoes promotes gastrointestinal health and improves digestion—helping you absorb nutrients more efficiently.
Potatoes are also excellent sources of vitamins C and B6. In fact, just one potato contains 45 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for C—that’s as much as one orange! And a potato has 10 percent of the RDA for vitamin B6.
Not to mention, potatoes are a good, natural source of iron and have more potassium than a banana. (Remember, you should always get your iron from foods, not from supplements.) They’re also rich in antioxidants, which can lower your risk of chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
So, now that you know you can enjoy potatoes as a part of your balanced diet, let’s go over that delicious and nutritious potato salad recipe I mentioned above…
Cozzi Family Potato Salad
- 1 ½ pounds organic new (small) potatoes (about 15)
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 4 slices organic bacon
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 cup fresh, chopped, organic, flat-leaf parsley
- Place the potatoes, with skins on, and 1 teaspoon of sea salt in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring water to a boil and cook until tender (about 15 to 18 minutes). Drain and run the potatoes under cold water until cool. Cut the potatoes into quarters—keeping skins on—and set aside.
- Meanwhile, cook the bacon strips in a conventional oven, at 350 degrees, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until crisp. Transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, let cool, then crumble.
- In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, ¾ teaspoon of sea salt, and ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper. Then, add in the quartered potatoes, crumbled bacon, and parsley. Toss to combine.
(You can also do the bulk of the work in advance by mixing the cooked potatoes, dressing, and parsley up to a day ahead. Then, just before serving, bring the potato salad to room temperature and add the bacon.)
So, as summer winds down, go ahead and put some delicious, homemade potato salad on the menu.
And focus on cutting out the processed foods filled with empty, refined carbs and sugars—such as bagels, breakfast cereals, chips, desserts, donuts, confections, pastries, or waffles. These foods will cause you to gain weight. Plus, they’ll put you on the road to developing all kinds of chronic diseases, including Type II diabetes.
P.S. Learn more about the nutritional benefits of potatoes—and gain yet another family recipe—in the March 2019 issue of my monthly newsletter, Insiders’ Cures (“No blarney here! Why a traditional St. Patrick’s Day spread is one of the healthiest meals you can eat”). Not yet a subscriber? Now is the perfect time to get started.