Alliance for Potato Research & Education
February 12, 2015 by Shannon Crocker, MSc, RD

Potatoes Are a (Nutrient-Rich) Vegetable!

Most Canadians, like most Americans, aren't eating enough vegetables; we typically consume fewer than 5 servings/day. It’s well established that a diet rich in a wide variety of vegetables and fruits—all shapes, sizes, and colors—is vital for good health.

Long before I began consulting with the Alliance for Potato Research and Education, I recommended potatoes as a nutritious vegetable choice. I know their nutrient value and appreciate their contribution, along with all vegetables, to a healthy diet.

So, I’m bemused when I hear someone sharing their point of view that potatoes aren't a healthy vegetable choice. I’m intrigued when certain vegetables trend as "super foods." Really, all vegetables are super; they all provide a unique nutrient profile that contribute to health. I’m even more baffled when I hear nutrition professionals say that potatoes aren't actually vegetables.

Potatoes have been wrongly maligned, and it’s time to set the record straight.

Potatoes are indeed a vegetable. Just half of a medium potato equals a serving of vegetables in Canada’s Food Guide and also counts as a ½ cup serving according to USDA’s MyPlate.

Potatoes are a nutrient-rich, naturally fat-free vegetable. One medium skin-on baked potato contains just 160 calories and provides you with the following nutrients:

  • Nearly 30% of the daily value of vitamin C
  • 926 mg of potassium—more than the amount provided by 2 bananas and about the same amount as found in 4 oranges
  • 3.8 g of fibre—roughly the same amount as found in a medium stalk of broccoli

Beyond nutrition, potatoes are easy to prepare and are incredibly versatile and affordable, making them very family-friendly. Especially in the winter months when other fresh vegetables can be costly, potatoes provide an excellent nutrition bang for the buck.

As a registered dietitian, I continually look for ways to encourage consumers to enjoy more servings of all kinds of vegetables every day. Potatoes in all forms—baked, roasted, stuffed, smashed—are a simple, tasty choice I recommend including when filling up half your plate with vegetables.