Why potatoes are a healthy part of your child's diet
Sponsored by the Potato Council
Potatoes belong to the starchy food group and starchy foods play an important part of a healthy diet.
They're a good source of energy for your child and the main source of a range of nutrients in their diet. Plus, potatoes provide fibre to help your child's digestive system work properly.
Dietitians recommend that starchy foods should make up around one third of everything we eat. So each meal should have a starchy component.
Children have small stomachs that fill up quickly, so serve potatoes without skins until your child is two and then gradually include potatoes with skins, for example a baked potato for lunch or tea. By the time your child is five, they should be eating new potatoes with their skins on, or potato wedges with skins.
What you feed your child depends on their appetite and nutritional needs at their particular stage of development. If you have any concerns about your child's diet, discuss these with your GP and/or health visitor. There's more advice on children's nutrition at www.bda.uk.com and www.nhs.uk/livewell.
- Low sugar
- Fat free
- Saturated fat-free
- Source of fibre
- Very low sodium/salt
- Source of vitamin B6
- Source of potassium
- Source of vitamin C
Heaps of Mumsnetters offered creative ideas for ways to incorporate the humble spud into everyday recipes, and offered a wealth of tips to make them taste even nicer (mashers at the ready).
- Peal and cut potatoes into small pieces, mix 1 tsp of each of the following: tomato purée, garlic purée, vegetable oil and paprika until it forms a paste. 'Paint' on to potatoes with a pastry brush (kids love doing this) and put into a hot oven for about 45 minutes until crunchy but soft in middle. Yum yum, great alternative to chips. jeanette177
- For parties, I make mini-stuffed jackets, using any small potatoes I have in the house. I bake for about 30 mins and then remove from oven, scoop out the flesh and mix it with some grated mature Cheddar and any dip I have in, like sour cream and chive, or garlic mayo. I then stuff the skins with the mixture, top with a bit more grated cheese and return to the oven for around 15-20 mins. They really are very good! Happy501
- If you use a potato ricer to mash your potatoes, you don't need to peel them first - just fish out the skin as you squash them a few at a time. prettybird
- I love potato wedges, but my super-quick tip is to bake a load of potatoes, until they're nearly completely cooked. Leave to cool, then cut in wedges. You can then chuck them in a hot oven with rapeseed oil (gets much hotter) to crisp for 15 minutes, or chuck the wedges in a plastic bag with a good drizzle of oil to coat, then freeze. They cook from frozen in 20 minutes in a hot oven. It's a great way of using up potatoes that are starting to look a bit dubious - I buy a 25kg bag direct from the farm, so they are already super cheap but still... CMOTdibbler
- For perfect roast spuds, parboil for 12 minutes then tip into colander. Shake in colander really roughly to scratch up the outside before drizzling with olive oil and roasting with rosemary and garlic. I guarantee the colander bashing will give you beautiful crispy outer sides and light, fluffy insides. jojonic
Remove the skins.
- Steaming will help retain nutrients.
- Mash so the potatoes can be mixed with other mashed or puréed vegetables, or puréed cooked pulses such as chick peas, or flaked fish such as fresh mackerel.
- Add to stews and casseroles, cooking until tender, then mash.
Remove the skins.
- Wedges (no skins) brushed with a rapeseed oil or similar make good finger food.
- Mash with other veg, such as carrots, parsnips, celeriac and swede.
- Add to stews and casseroles.
Children above toddler age
- Fish cakes are a good way to incorporate oily fish.
- Potato cakes are delicious for breakfast or tea.
- Baked potatoes work well, especially if you add a simple topping such as baked beans or grated cheese. Alternatively, go for a pizza-type topping of tomato sauce, chopped peppers and grated cheese (toddlers can add these themselves once they're able to).
- Scooped baked potatoes are also a tasty. To cook, bake, scoop out flesh, then add cheese or natural yoghurt or sunflower spread (or your favourite ingredients), mix well with the potato flesh, then and pile back into skins.
- Mashed potato makes an easy topping on pies.
- Make a potato bake, wedges, or rosti cakes.
- Add potatoes to your child's lunchbox in the form of potato salad or potato cakes.
For more recipes and ideas visit www.lovepotatoes.co.uk
Last updated: almost 2 years ago