October is World Hunger Action Month when public awareness is raised around this important issue. World Food Day is celebrated on the 16th of October with the focus to increase the understanding of practical solutions in the drive to end hunger globally. When aiming to eradicate barriers to this basic human right, it is important that staple foods become the heroes and that they are prepared in nutritious, cost-effective and delicious ways.
Potatoes are one of South Africa’s staple foods. Potatoes can be enjoyed in a variety of different ways and provide key vitamins, minerals and beneficial nutrients to the diet. The preparation of potatoes is critical when including the later as a regular food source in the diet. If prepared as a South African favourite “slap chips” potatoes can be the carrier for excess oils (thereby contributing to high energy intakes) and salts in the diet which have an adverse effect on health when consumed in large quantities. These effects increase the risk of chronic diseases of lifestyle such as Heart Disease, Diabetes and Hypertension.
Similarly, if potatoes are peeled and soaked before cooking, a large proportion of the water soluble vitamins – particularly vitamin C – can be lost in the process. The vitamins leak out into the water and are no longer available when eating the potatoes. The skin of the potato contains nutrients but also a significant amount of fibre. By peeling potatoes one loses this beneficial addition of nutrients and fibre to the diet. Furthermore peeling potatoes also diminishes the bulk or volume added to the meal, this directly impacts the feeling of fullness as the more volume a meal contains the more filling it is. This happens via the vagal nerve which senses the fullness of the stomach and sends a message to the brain to decrease appetite. Because of this, the bulk content of the meal is an important quality to reduce hunger and increase satisfaction and should not be lost due to incorrect preparation techniques.
FOCUS ON THE KEY POINTS BELOW TO MAKE SURE YOUR SPUDS ARE IN GOOD HANDS AND YOUR TUMMY IS WELL TAKEN CARE OF THIS WORLD HUNGER MONTH:
Keep the skin on: By eating your potatoes with skin, the fibre content of the meal is increased. This adds greater bulk and satiety to the meal to increase the feeling of fullness. The skin also contains a portion of the vitamins found in Potatoes – vitamin C and vitamin B6 – so it is important that the skin is scrubbed clean but kept intact.
Cook smart: Bake, boil, steam, mash and roast potatoes before eating them. Enjoy the wide variety of textures and flavours that potatoes can provide without needing to add excess oil which contributes unnecessary energy.
Stop soaking: Scrub and wash the potato skin clean to avoid any dirt from being added to the meal. Rinse the potatoes gently and cook them immediately. Soaking will reduce the vitamin content of the spuds and decrease their overall nutritional benefit to the meal.
Eat the Colour of the Rainbow: Use other vegetables to further increase the bulk of the meal. This will improve satisfaction as well as nutrient content and will ensure fulfilment and optimal health from the diet. Vegetables are also cost-effective and this will increase the amount of food available for the family to enjoy. Look out for specials when buying vegetables. Many South African retailers offer discounts for vegetables bought in bulk, which can be shared with family members or neighbours to prevent wastage.
Umfino – Traditional Cabbage & Onion Dish
- Serves 6 as a side dish
- 2 Medium Onions
- 2 Bunches of Spinach Leaves
- 1 Large Cabbage
- 18 Baby Potatoes
Dice the onion and chop equal amounts of spinach and cabbage. Add 2 tsp. canola oil to a pan. Add the onion and cook until translucent and soft. Add the spinach and the cabbage to the pan, together with the baby potatoes, diced into quarters. Put the lid on the pan and cook for 15-20 minutes until soft, but not soggy.
Nutritional Information per serving: 580 kJ Energy, 5.1 g Protein, 0.4 g Fat, 22.3 g Carbohydrates, 6.0 g Fibre, 634.3 mg Sodium
Rustic Smashed Potatoes
- Serves 6 as a side dish
- 3 large Potatoes
- ½ cup Low Fat Milk or Buttermilk
- Handful of Fresh Rosemary or 2 tsp. Dried Rosemary
Put the whole unpeeled potatoes in a large pot and add enough water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced (25 to 30 minutes). Cut the potatoes into chunks and add fresh chopped rosemary or dried rosemary together with ½ cup buttermilk or Low Fat Milk. Using a potato masher, mash until mostly smooth and sprinkle with seasoning. Pinch of salt and black pepper.
Nutritional Information per serving: 336.8 kJ Energy, 2.0 g Protein, 0.5 g Fat, 15.3 g Carbohydrates, 1.4 g Fibre, 335.2 mg Sodium