The term "eating clean" was coined by health and fitness guru Tosca Reno. While the idea of eating whole foods with less ingredients isn't new, Reno published her book, "The Eat-Clean Diet," in 2007, making the idea of eating clean more mainstream. Eating clean is a combination of choosing foods in their most natural form while eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Potatoes and sweet potatoes aren't only allowed while eating clean -- they are actually encouraged as a whole food that can be prepared in a variety of ways.
The purpose of eating clean is to gain better health by consuming foods with less ingredients in their most natural form. This means a departure from processed foods from the grocery store shelves and choosing more fruits and vegetables from the produce department. Since potatoes are a single-ingredient, whole food, they are a natural and beneficial addition to a clean eating way of life. It's the preparation methods that will dictate whether potatoes can help or hinder your progress while learning to eat clean.
Potatoes are a common food, seen most often as a side dish to meat entrees. When gussied up with cream cheese, milk and butter, potatoes are no longer a healthy option. When served alone, however, a regular-sized potato is about 110 calories, offers 3 g protein, 620 mg potassium and is naturally fat-free. Since potatoes are generally economical in price and readily available, they can help ease you into a cleaner eating lifestyle. Potatoes are especially appropriate if you're trying to entice your family to eat clean as well. They are familiar and appeal to a variety of age ranges.
Ingredients and Dishes
Serving a potato by itself is certainly healthy, but it also may be a bit bland. Unfortunately, the traditional toppings for potatoes, such as cheese, bacon or sour cream, are not considered "clean" foods. Instead, rely on vegetables, herbs and spices to add flavor to your potato. If you prefer meat to flavor potatoes, choose lean turkey or ham over fatty meats like bacon or ground beef. Potatoes also make the ideal foundation for a clean meal such as an egg and vegetable scramble or potato pancakes.
If you're ready to amp up your commitment to eating clean and its benefits, try swapping sweet potatoes for regular potatoes. While regular potatoes are fine while eating a clean diet, sweet potatoes offer a myriad of health benefits, including 130 calories, nearly 4 g fiber, 28 mg calcium and heaps vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are a star ingredient for many of the recipes found in "The Eat-Clean Diet," since they offer added flavor and benefits over a plain potato.
- "The Eat-Clean Diet: Fast Fat Loss That Lasts Forever!"; Tosca Reno; 2007
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.