The Unhealthy Mistake You Might Be Making When Cooking Potatoes

Potatoes are one of the most popular, versatile vegetables around. You can use them to make stews, salads, french fries, and other dishes. Mashed, baked, or steamed, potatoes make a satiating addition to almost any meal. It doesn't hurt that they are rich in nutrients, including potassium, iron, and vitamins C and B6 (via Healthline). That said, how you cook potatoes can greatly reduce their benefits, and avoiding the following mistakes can help you get the most out of them.

One method of cooking potatoes that adds a considerable amount of calories is frying them. According to Healthline, one medium potato has about 168 calories, while a medium serving of french fries has about 365 calories (via NutritionIX). Frying not only adds calories to your diet but also adds fat. On their own, potatoes don't contain any fat, but the additional fat from frying them can lead to weight gain.

Keep the skin on

Many of the nutrients in potatoes are in the skin, so you should refrain from peeling and discarding them. According to SFGate, potato skin contains about 30-40% of the potato's vitamin C, vitamin B6, and thiamin content. It also contains about half of the niacin found in a potato. 

The skin also provides about 88% of the total iron found in a potato, as well as 20% of the potassium, and 15% of the magnesium. Gram per gram, potato skins are pretty nutritious. One hundred grams of skin has double the amount of seven nutrients, five times the amount of riboflavin, seven times the amount of calcium, and 17 times more iron than 100 grams of potato flesh.

Always clean potatoes (and other vegetables) before eating them. Health suggests beginning with clean hands before scrubbing potatoes with a soft-bristled brush under cold, running water. This will remove any dirt that might be on the surface. Then dry with a clean cloth. Because the skin can absorb soap or detergents, it is not recommended to use any when washing.