Mar 30, 2023
Idaho potatoes added to diabetes meal program

The Idaho Potato Commission and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) have announced a multi-year partnership making fresh Idaho potatoes the first vegetable to participate in the ADA’s Better Choices for Life program.

The purpose of the partnership is to help educate tens of millions of Americans on ways they can add Idaho potatoes to their meal plan.

Diabetes is one of the country’s greatest health crises. Every 23 seconds someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with diabetes and 133 million Americans are living with diabetes or prediabetes. With a mission to prevent and cure diabetes and improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes, the number-one question the ADA receives is, what can I eat? Many wrongly believe they cannot eat potatoes.

“We want those living with diabetes and prediabetes to feel confident eating potatoes with their breakfast, lunch or dinner as long as serving size and preparation recommendations are followed,” Jamey Higham, president and CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission, said in a news release. “This partnership aims to enhance people’s understanding of nutrition, especially carbohydrates; help build healthy eating habits and debunk some myths about potatoes and diabetes.”

The Better Choices for Life program uses the ADA’s evidence-based guidelines and perspective to help consumers make informed choices about the products they purchase. Participating products prominently display the Better Choices for Life mark on their packaging. In the coming months, consumers will begin to see this well-respected mark on select 5-pound and 10-pound bags of fresh Idaho potatoes.

“The American Diabetes Association’s mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes,” Laura Hieronymus, vice president of Health Care Programs for the ADA, said in the release. “One way we do this is to educate on ways to improve nutrition status and overall health using the Diabetes Plate Method.

“We are proud to announce that the Idaho Potato Commission meets the American Diabetes Association’s Better Choices for Life nutrition guidelines,” Hieronymus said in the release. “Idaho potatoes are a healthy vegetable on the Diabetes Plate, and we look forward to working together to bring awareness of healthful choices and food preparation in our fight to better manage and prevent diabetes.”

The ADA introduced the Diabetes Plate Method to help those with diabetes and prediabetes to prepare healthy meals that can help manage blood glucose (blood sugar). This approach allows individuals to put together a plate that includes a healthy balance of vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates, which can include potatoes.

The Diabetes Plate Method

The Diabetes Plate Method outlines five steps:

  • Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, which are lower in carbohydrates so they do not raise blood glucose very much.
  • Fill one-quarter of your place with lean protein, such as fish, chicken, lean beef, soy products and cheese.
  • Fill the last one-quarter of your plate with carbohydrate foods, which include grains, starchy vegetables, beans and legumes, fruit, yogurt, and milk.
  • To complete your meal, add water or another zero-calorie beverage.
  • Choose healthy fats in small amounts.

    One 5.3-ounce potato has only 110 calories and contains no fat, cholesterol, sodium or gluten. Plus, it is loaded with important vitamins and minerals like potassium, vitamin C and fiber. The key to enjoying potatoes is knowing how to prepare them healthfully:

  • Be mindful of serving size.
  • Combine with heart-healthy olive or avocado oils.
  • Prepare with the skins on for added fiber.
  • Bake or boil instead of frying.

For diabetes-friendly recipes, click here.

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