Potato snacks aren't generally considered healthy, but by choosing wisely you can serve them as a healthy snack for your family. Instead of potato chips, with around 550 calories for a 3 1/2 oz. serving, or French fries, with about 275 calories per serving, try baking oven fries with a small amount of healthy oil and seasoning for about 95 calories. Choose ready-made snacks prepared with healthy fats. With fresh potatoes and a packet of dressing and dip mix, you can make quick and easy savory potato snacks for your family.
Watch the Ingredients
Potatoes on their own are low in fat and high in fiber, minerals and folate. Add butter, cheese or sour cream, though, and you've just eliminated any virtues the potato once had; likewise for potato chips fried in oil. Look for commercial potato snacks that are baked, rather than fried, and that have few ingredients -- ideally just herbs or sea salt.
Homemade Potato Snacks
For a hearty and nutritious potato snack, microwave whole, small red or golden potatoes. Split the tops and fill them with broccoli, pizza sauce and low-fat cheese or sauteed red peppers, tomatoes and onions. Chives and plain yogurt make a flavorful alternative to butter and sour cream. For an instant baked potato topping, drizzle on creamy salad dressing in your favorite flavor. Use fat-free or light versions to reduce calories. Another snack idea is to bake thinly sliced potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil on a cookie sheet until they are golden brown. Season them with a dash of dry salad dressing and seasoning mix. Encourage picky eaters by serving the potato slices with a variety of creamy dressings for dipping.
Although sweet potatoes aren't in the same botanical family as potatoes, they have similar characteristics. Bake or microwave sweet potatoes until they are tender to bring out their sweet, mellow flavor. Thinly slice them as you would regular potatoes for oven fries. Brush the slices with melted butter and add zip by sprinkling them with dry ranch dressing mix, or top them with a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon for a sweet snack.
Selecting and Storing Potatoes
Choose thin-skinned potatoes for oven fries because they don't require peeling. Select potatoes that are firm, without sprouts or green spots, which indicate the potatoes have been exposed to light. Store potatoes in a cool, dark pantry away from onions. Potatoes will last for several weeks when stored between 45 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. At warmer temperatures use the potatoes within two weeks. Do not refrigerate potatoes, which causes dark spots and an unpleasant taste.
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