Are You Ready to Boost Your Potato Power? Take Our Quiz and Find Out More

When we think of vegan superfoods, the potato does not often come to mind.  But as author Colleen Patrick-Goudreau explains in her amazing, easy-to-read, and recipe-packed book “Color Me Vegan,” there is plenty to love about the humble spud, especially when you start looking at varieties outside the traditional white tuber.

Ready to learn more? First, test your potato power with our quick quiz, then learn some great ways to incorporate potatoes into your diet.

1. In addition to the commonly-known white varieties, what other colors do potatoes come in?

A.) Red and Yellow
B.) Orange and Blue
C.) Purple
D.) All of the above

2. How many pounds of potatoes did people in the United States consume last year?

A.) 5 million
B.) 17 million
C.) 25 million
D.) 27 million

3. What are the two most common ways that potatoes are consumed?

A.) Boiled and roasted
B.) Baked and mashed
C.) French fries and potato chips

Blue Congo Potato
“Blue Congo” potato photograph courtesy of Wikimedia commons

Answer Key: 1 is E, 2 is B and 3 is C

Most people don’t think of potatoes when they think of adding color to their diets, but perhaps they should. The potato tends to get a bad rap, mostly because people think only of the starchy white potato when they think of these popular tubers, but there are a variety of other colors whose nutrition profile changes according to the potato type and color: red, yellow, orange, purple and blue.

In 2005, Europeans consumed about 65 million tons of potatoes, North Americans consumed almost 20 million tons (17 million in the US alone), and world consumption in the same year topped out at almost 203 million tons.

Unfortunately, most of those potatoes are consumed in the form of french fries or potato chips, and when they’re eaten whole, they’re mostly of the starchy white variety, often drowned in dairy-based butter. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Potatoes can be a healthful part of our diets, especially when we explore other colors and methods of preparation.

Consider this:

  • Yellow potatoes contain carotenoids in both their flesh and their skin. The antioxidants vary according to the intensity of the color and are primarily lutein, zeaxanthin, and violaxanthin
  • Deeply yellow or orange flesh potatoes, such as sweet potatoes, have levels of carotenoids similar to those in winter squash
  • The antioxidants in red-skinned potatoes are found primarily in the skins. However, in the less familiar purple varieties—in this case, anthocyanins—are in both the skin and the flesh, increasing their nutrient density
  • The purple -blue pigment anthocyanin is saturated in the potato whose flesh and skin are both purple. Some purple potatoes have purple skin but a lighter color flesh.
  • The most healthful preparations for potatoes are those that lock the nutrients in and keep the whole vegetable intact. For instance, though peeling once in a while is fine when you want the texture to be smooth and creamy, try to consume the peel as often as possible
  • Roasting and steaming are my favorite ways of cooking potatoes: a little olive oil, a little salt, and you’re good to go

Color Me Vegan

Eat by color for more flavorful meals and extraordinary health!

In Color Me Vegan, author and vegan extraordinaire Colleen Patrick-Goudreau brings an edible rainbow of plant-based cuisine to your kitchen table with 150 flavorful recipes designed to boost your health and perk up your palate.

With color as the guiding principle behind each section, Colleen shows vegetarians, vegans, and everyone in between exactly how phytonutrients—the most powerful, pigmented antioxidants on earth, found in everything from select fruits and vegetables, to grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds—can be expertly incorporated into your meals for the greatest nutritional punch.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is the founder of Compassionate Cooks, an organization whose mission it is to empower people to make informed food choices and to debunk myths about veganism. A recognized expert on healthful plant-based cuisine, Colleen has appeared on the Food Network and is a columnist for VegNews magazine. She lives in Oakland, CA with her human hubby and feline boys. Learn more at her website, http://www.compassionatecook.com