I took a walk this morning on the country road near our house, and although the wind still whipped around with Winter’s bite, in those few quiet minutes where it died down I could hear the sounds of a waking Spring. That beautiful feeling of everything coming alive, of life and renewal, the little stream gushing with new found enthusiasm, the bird song elevated to a pitch of excitement, the sight of people like little dots moving further in the distance all charged with the possibilities of a New Year, all ready for the challenge of self made promises of transformation.
And so when I got home, and thought about what to eat for lunch that would support my promise to only eat what would better serve my health this year, I searched the fridge and cupboards until I saw just what I wanted. And then through life’s irony, I realized that though our lives are constantly changing and constantly transforming and renewing, there’s one thing that never changes. One thing I doubt will ever change the world over, and more certainly not for any Irish person I know. That is our undying love for the humble potato.
Delicious, nutritious and when baked and topped with any number of combinations of fillings, has the ability to satiate even the most ravenous of appetites!
Not only did the potato pretty much keep the entire Irish civilization alive for centuries, but it is still considered one of the top 3 most nutrient dense foods in the green kingdom! Containing just about every nutrient bar vitamin A & D, potatoes are high in potassium, iron, copper and Vitamin B6 which is vital to a healthy heart!
While the potato has somehow gotten a bad rap as not a good food to include in a low carb diet, or for those trying to lose weight, I think the contrary. Once it’s teamed with a protein and some fat, this significantly lowers it’s GI.
** (Glycemic index is a measure of how fast a food becomes sugar in your body, which has an effect on the release of insulin which in turn causes fat storage.)
The potato is far too nutritious, convenient and satisfying a food to eliminate from a healthy diet. It makes no sense to. A nice medium sized baked potato can be combined with any of the following toppings for a balanced and nutritious meal;
Go Greek ; Sundried tomatoes, pesto and Feta cheese filling
Go Mexican; Salsa, guacamole, and black beans.
Go Mediterranean Style; Tuna, artichoke and basil
Go Italian; Topped with Ratatouille (shallots, garlic, bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and basil.)
Go Cheesy ; Cottage cheese with dill
Go Indian; Top with leftover Indian tikka masala, or korma or whatever!
Go Classic; top with organic butter and chives.
The toppings for a baked potato are endless. If you use your imagination you just cant possibly get bored. And as long as you keep the toppings healthy, you can be confident in knowing you are consuming a well-balanced and healthy meal whether for lunch or dinner.
I’m topping mine with fresh guacamole and dairy free “Sour Cream” today and I’ve posted the recipe below.
Baked Potato with Guacamole and “Sour Cream”.
Take a medium sized baking potato and stick it with a fork to make a few holes. Cover it in tin foil and bake it in the oven for about 1 hr at 220 degrees.
Meanwhile make your very healthy and delicious toppings!
2 medium avocados
Juice of ½ freshly squeezed lemon or lime
1 tsp sea salt
a handful of fresh coriander
½ medium onion chopped
½ Jalapeno (optional)
1 tomato chopped
Mix ingredients together (except tomato) on high in a good blender. As it becomes creamy, add the tomatoes in for a few seconds at the end. You want them to be chunky!
Dairy-free Sour Cream
(this sour cream tastes as good, if not better than the real thing and is sooo easy to make)
2 cups raw cashews
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp onion powder or freshly chopped onions
½ tsp sea salt.
1/3 cup water
Mix all ingredients on high in a blender until smooth and creamy.
Top your baked potato with the guacamole and sour cream and enjoy!
One of the best healthy lunches out there!! If you have any toppings that you want to share please do so in the comments below!
Here’s to a healthy 2013 everyone,