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Healthier Baked Potato For 2015

Q:

I love baked potatoes but tend to go overboard on the toppings, any suggestions for a healthier 2015?

A:

An Idaho® baked potato can be very healthy to eat by itself, especially with a squeeze of lemon or some salt and pepper. However, it can have even more calories than an order of French fries when the topping portion sizes or choices start getting piled on. A little sour cream or cheese sauce, and a small pat of butter may be ok, but be truthful, is that what you are adding to that baked spud? Even reduced fat ingredients still add up when used with a heavy hand.

Some tips to consider… while sour cream is wonderful, especially my favorite brand Tillamook, just 2 tablespoons of premium sour cream can add 70 calories and fifty are from fat. Now considering a 5.3 ounce plain baked potato is 110 calories, two tiny tablespoons added 64% more calories. Even their light sour cream still contains 40 calories for the same portion. A 5.3 ounce serving of Tillamook Greek yogurt, or one container is 90 calories, almost matching the plain baked potato.

Instead of high fat or sodium additions, try small amounts of high flavor cheese such as shredded aged cheddar or blue cheese instead of a cheese sauce. Try low fat or no fat yogurt rather than regular sour cream. Try whipped butter or a spray or fat free spread, or drizzle on some olive oil. Fresh herbs, added to a low fat Ranch dressing can perk up that potato without all the added fat or calories. One of my favorites is just to add fresh salsa. And while one tablespoon of olive tapenade is 25 calories, it is pretty hard to pile that on the potato as easily as sour cream or butter or cottage cheese, so you might be able to get away with 2-3 tablespoons instead of a dollop or half a container (like I do sometimes at home for the cottage cheese).

Take a page from the folks at Kettle brand potato chips and crank up the spice levels with jalapeno or Sriracha instead of salt. Give this a try and let me know what your favorite low calories Idaho® potato toppings are.

slow bake

Pictured: Baked potato with chives

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