Let’s face it—kids love potatoes and schools love to serve them! After all, what’s not to love? They can be prepared dozens of healthy ways with flavors and spices that lend them to ethnic and traditional cuisine. What’s more, potatoes do a body good:
One medium baked potato, (5.3 ounces), at just 110 calories, is an excellent source of potassium—far more than a banana. It’s also a good source of fiber—more than a serving of broccoli.
Potatoes are a naturally fat-free and sodium-free vegetable. They have nearly half the daily value of vitamin C and are a good source of fiber, folate, manganese, niacin and phosphorus.
Recent research shows potatoes do not displace other vegetables on the plate. In fact, when potatoes are served, a wider variety of vegetables are consumed. Potatoes are a true gateway vegetable.
According to the research, meals containing white potatoes had significantly higher amounts of potassium and fiber. In some contexts, the presence of white potatoes may be an indicator of a more nutrient-dense and healthful meal.
Vegetable Limits will Decrease Nutrient and Vegetable Consumption
Potassium and fiber are two of the four nutrients of concern for children. According to the Dietary Guidelines, kids must get more vital nutrients in their diets or they could face serious long-term health consequences.
USDA meal plan recommendations limit a vegetable that provides essential nutrients in a calorie-efficient package that kids will eat.
Potatoes are the only vegetable easily incorporated into school breakfast. Offering potatoes during breakfast gives schools the opportunity to increase consumption of a nutrient dense vegetable.