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Potatoes: The New Sports Food

  • Category: Nutrition
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Jennifer Haugen, RDN, CSSD, LD
Potatoes: The New Sports Food

Move over, pasta! There’s a new sports food in town: the potato.

How many people think of a big pasta meal right before the race to make sure you are “carbing up”? Locally grown and fresh from the earth, these nutrition powerhouses are just what runners need to fuel their bodies for the long runs.

Are potatoes fattening?

The answer is a simple no. Potatoes contain no fat or cholesterol and are a great source of fiber. Fiber is important for healthy digestion and promotes lower cholesterol, essential to keep that heart pumping strong.

Potatoes also pack nearly half of one’s vitamin C needs for the day. As athletes, we are consistently breaking down our bodies to build them up to be stronger, hence the need for additional support from our antioxidant vitamins helping our bodies to heal quickly. Vitamin C is also a friend to iron. It helps iron to be absorbed into the body, which can help with the flow of oxygen to working muscles. This is vital when you are working hard in the long run!


Potatoes are also an excellent source of potassium.

Potassium is essential for muscle contraction and works hand-in-hand with sodium to regulate fluid and help maintain normal blood pressure. Many people do not consume adequate potassium in their diets due to a lack of fruits and vegetables. Bananas have always been known for potassium, but potatoes are an excellent competitor.

When you are planning your carbs before the big race, build in the potato. It is sure to be a winner!

Eating right is vital to good health. Registered dietitians at Altru offer a variety of healthy, tasty recipes to add to your personal recipe collection. Explore our Healthy Recipe Corner.