The Skinny on Potato Skins

Carb smart consumers know when you’re sizing up starchy foods, “If it’s white…walk away!”

We’re talking white bread, white rice, white pasta, white crackers…and then someone inevitably asks, “But what about white potatoes?”

For many fiber fans, white potatoes are the exception to the walk away from white foods rule. In fact, for a single potato (about 5.2 ounces) there are 110 calories, 7 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of protein, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, as well as iron, potassium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6. As you can see, there is a lot of good in them.

A common misconception is that most of the potato’s nutrients are found only in the skin. According to the US Potato Board, “The majority (>50 percent) of the nutrients are found within the potato itself.” The fact of the matter is that the only nutrient that you will lose if you peel a potato is fiber. However, since it is recommended that you get between 25 grams per day if you’re a woman and 38 grams per day if you’re a man, it makes sense to eat the potato skins as well as the flesh.

A medium-sized potato with its skin on has about 7 grams of fiber, and half of the potato’s fiber is found in the skin. So if you ditch the flesh, you’re depriving yourself of half of your potato’s fiber goodness.

And it’s not just fiber that one finds in potatoes. That same potato has more potassium than a banana and almost half (45%) of your daily value for vitamin C.

Now granted, it’s sometimes what you put ON the potato that can set you back. The Loaded Potato Skins appetizer at TGI Fridays has 1,430 calories and a day-and-a-half worth of saturated fat. And you can bet it’s not the potato that’s the problem there!

If you want a skinny skin, try scooping some of the flesh and piling on steamed broccoli, reduced-fat shredded cheese, and some low-fat sour cream for good measure.

If you generally eat a baked potato with butter and sour cream when grilling out, here’s an option that you might want to try. This recipe has 280 calories, 11 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein.

– Grilled Yellow Potato Planks –

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ pound (about 4) unpeeled yellow potatoes, cut into ½ inch-thick slices

1.  Preheat the grill.
2.  Combine the first four ingredients in a dish.
3.  Add the yellow potato slices and turn each until they are well coated.
4.  Grill the potatoes for about 8 minutes on one side until they are soft.
5.  Turn them over and continue to grill for 10 additional minutes or until they are completely cooked.
6.  Remove the potatoes from the grill and serve.

For some great potato recipe ideas, check out the US Potato Board’s recipes at