With the right recipe, potatoes can be healthy

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 October, 2011, 12:00am


Maggie Luk asks: 'Could you please tell me any healthy recipes made with potatoes that aren't laden with mayonnaise?'

Wynnie says: Many of us think potatoes are high in carbs, fattening and an unhealthy food choice. If eaten deep-fried as crisps or French fries, or laden with oil, butter, cream or sour cream, potatoes can be a potential health hazard. However, the humble boiled or baked potato is a nutritious, low-calorie food.

Potatoes are a good source of carbohydrates, which provide us with energy. Also, they have a high fibre content: a baked potato provides almost 12 per cent of our daily requirement of this nutrient. Fibre helps maintain a healthy digestive system, prevents constipation and lowers the chances of developing colon cancer.

In addition, potatoes are a good source of vitamins and minerals such as folate, vitamin B6, potassium and copper. Vitamin B6 produces the hormone adrenaline, which helps us to deal with stress, and neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters help us to regulate our mood. Folate and copper are essential nutrients required for the production of healthy blood cells, while potassium is important for the proper functioning of all cells and organs in the body.

Potato salad

This is an alternative to the mayo-laden potato salad you often see in salad bars. This lighter version is great to take along on a picnic. You can make your own variations by adding different vegetables such as chopped red peppers, green onions, tomatoes, celery and olives. If you use small new potatoes, you won't even need to peel them.

Serves 4

about 1/2kg potatoes


1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

Large handful mixed herbs


1 Wash potatoes and boil, unpeeled, in a covered saucepan until tender. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

2 When the potatoes are cool enough to touch, peel and cut into 2.5cm cubes. Carefully place in a serving bowl.

3 Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

4 Add the red onion and mixed herbs to the chopped potatoes, drizzle over the dressing, and carefully toss the salad together. Serve warm or cold.

Nutritional information per serving: 142 kilocalories, 696 kilojoules, 2.8g protein, 5.9g fat, 20.4g carbohydrate, 1.8g fibre

Potato rosti

Originating from Switzerland, this crispy potato cake makes a great low-fat alternative to deep-fried chips. For best results, make sure you use a non-stick frying pan. You can jazz these little cakes up by adding garlic and chopped onions to the basic potato mixture.

Serves 4

680g potatoes, peeled

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 Coarsely grate the potatoes using a food processor or by hand.

2 Season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss the ingredients together using your hands.

3 Heat one tablespoon of oil in a small, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Divide the potato mixture into small mounds, squeezing out as much water as you can. Place the rosti into the pan and flatten the surface with a spatula.

4 Cook over low heat for 12-15 minutes or until the base is brown and crisp. Turn each rosti carefully and cook the other side for a further 10-12 minutes.

Nutritional information per serving: 152 kilocalories, 643 kilojoules, 3.6g protein, 3.1g fat, 29.3g carbohydrates, 2.2g fibre

Wynnie Chan is a British-trained nutritionist. Email her at nutrition@scmp.com