The Potato… a Vegetable?

June 9, 2009 at 7:40 am 2 comments

I must admit I get a little annoyed when I see the French Fry ads claiming the potato is a vegetable. It’s true, it is a vegetable, but once it has been processed into French Fry form, it’s vegetable-ness is definitely reduced.  I have never met a person who doesn’t like French Fries, myself included; but let’s be honest, fried or from frozen it is not the healthy way to eat potatoes.

White Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes are a great addition to anyone’s diet. However don’t serve potatoes with rice, pasta, bread or other grains.  Starchy vegetables should be ¼ of you and your child’s dinner plate (½ being vegetables and the other ¼ protein).

Sweet Potatoes can be a part of a child’s diet from the first time food is introduced; they are full of fiber, Vitamins A, C and B6.  They also contain important minerals like iron, potassium and copper.

White Potatoes are also a source of dietary fiber and contain Vitamins C, B6 and the minerals copper, potassium, and manganese.  Potatoes are added to the diet at 9 months of age because they are nightshade vegetables; which contain alkaloids and contribute to inflammation.  Waiting until 9 months helps to ensure your baby’s digestion can handle the alkaloids.

So what about French Fries? Carefully read the label of the bag of frozen French Fries.  Here are the ingredients of 2 packages of frozen fries that I researched:

French Fries – (White) Potatoes, vegetable oil (canola and/or soybean and/or cottonseed and/or sunflower), salt, caramel, annatto, dextrose, sodium phosphate, ascorbic acid.
Sweet Potato Fries – Sweet potatoes, vegetable oil (canola and/or soybean and/or cottonseed and/or sunflower), modified potato starch, rice flour, dextrin, modified tapioca starch, salt, baking powder, colour, xanthan gum, annatto, dextrose, sodium phosphate

Are you surprised that so much has been added to the French fries? Some are added to help preserve the potatoes (sodium phosphate, ascorbic acid, xanthan gum) and to rejuvenate the flavour that may have been lost in the processing (salt, dextrose, dextrin).  Others are to add colour and make the potatoes look appealing (caramel, annatto) or to give them crispiness after baking (baking powder, potato starch, rice flour, tapioca starch).

It is such a shame that so many people grab for the frozen fries when it really is easy to make your own French Fries in your oven!  I believe the real secret to a great homemade French Fry is parchment paper. Parchment paper can be found where you buy plastic wrap and it guarantees there is no sticking to the baking sheet AND a crispy fry.

You can follow this recipe for both white potatoes and sweet potatoes…

Preheat oven to 375 deg.  Wash your potatoes well; peeling is optional (there is nutrition in those skins!). Cut into ‘fry shape’ and place in a large bowl.  Add 2 Tbsp of olive oil.  Toss well to coat potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Optional: also toss with dried basil, oregano and/or thyme or grated garlic.  Place potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and make sure they are in a single layer.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.  Check potatoes and using a spatula turn over the potatoes.  Place back in the oven for another 15 – 30 minutes.  The time will depend on the thickness of your ‘fries, so check every 10 minutes until the outside is nicely browned and crispy.  Serve & enjoy!

Here are some other recipe ideas for Potatoes.

These Twice-Baked Potatoes with Rosemary and Feta are not only a hit, but easy!  Bake up the potatoes early in the day.  When dinner is getting ready squish them as indicated, add the feta & rosemary and bake as directed… Dee-lish!

If you don’t have any nut allergies in your home, try these delicious Almond Crusted Root Fries. Stick with what you know & use a sweet potato or introduce your child to root vegetables beyond the simple potato….


Entry filed under: 9 months, Finger Food, Toddlers, Vegetables. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Homemade Goldfish Crackers The Alternative Veggie Babe…

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. fresh365  |  June 9, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Hi, Thanks so much for adding the recipe link here. I am glad you are enjoying the potatoes! As someone who is planning on feeding my (future) children homemade food from day one, I am really enjoying your blog. I am very glad you lead me here! I think I may eat all those goldfish myself though!

    • 2. lkmnut  |  June 9, 2009 at 1:09 pm

      I am glad we can help each other! I usually have to make an additional batch of the Goldfish for me & my husband!


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