Po-TAY-to, Po-TAH-to

Plus: Easy recipes to get your veggies in.

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"To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art."

François de La Rochefoucauld

Monday.  For today’s edition of frustrating, misleading headlines, we have this winner from the New York Post:

Exercise may not be the key to living longer — it might even be aging you faster

It should go without saying, but exercise is absolutely essential to living longer. Can you overdo exercise and have it negatively impact your health? Sure, but I think we can all agree this headline isn’t doing anyone any favors. 

Moving on to a question without an obvious answer: are potatoes vegetables? Let’s dive in.

Ghost Lol GIF by Justin Gammon

Are Potatoes Vegetables? 

Here is a sentence you probably didn’t think you’d read this morning: the great potato debate is heating up in the U.S., especially as the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee considers a potential reshuffle in how we categorize our food. 

Traditionally seen as a starchy vegetable, potatoes might find themselves in a broader category alongside grains and carbs in the upcoming 2025 national diet guidelines. This possibility has sparked discussions among scientists, potato growers, and even parents. 

Currently, white potatoes, which come in various colors, are classified as “starchy vegetables.” However, this classification might change as the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services review updates to the guidelines. This change could significantly impact nutritional advice and school cafeteria menus, where potatoes are a staple.

The debate isn’t just academic. Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council, argues that potatoes serve as a “gateway vegetable,” enticing kids to eat more vegetables. However, not all agree with this view. I get it. I’m skeptical that potatoes will lead to broccoli because, well, have you tasted potatoes and broccoli? Not exactly the same thing.  

In the U.K., potatoes are not counted towards the recommended five portions of fruits and vegetables a day, a stance that reflects a broader view of potatoes’ nutritional role. The U.S. guidelines currently place corn and potatoes in the starchy vegetable category, while cornmeal is considered a grain. This distinction is crucial for understanding how we consume and value these foods in our diets.

The potato’s status isn’t just a matter of nutritional semantics; it’s tied to broader discussions about healthy eating and food categorization.

For some, like Chris Voigt of the Washington State Potato Commission, potatoes are more than just food; they’re a lifestyle. In 2010, Voigt famously ate nothing but potatoes for 60 days to protest federal nutrition program rules. He consumed 20 potatoes daily, losing 21 pounds and improving his health markers. His experiment inspired others, like Tim Steele, who wrote “The Potato Hack,” advocating for short-term all-potato diets to reset the palate.

The U.S. dietary guidelines aim to provide clear nutritional advice, categorizing food into five groups: vegetables, grains, fruit, dairy, and protein. These guidelines influence not just individual choices but also public health policies and school menus, making this potato debate a pretty hot topic. While potatoes contain beneficial nutrients like potassium and vitamin C, their health benefits are often overshadowed when fried.

A baked potato is a great, nutrient-dense side option, but french fries? Not so much. 

The key takeaway? Are potatoes vegetables? Technically, yes, but that might soon change. The outcome of this potato debate could reshape how Americans view one of their staple foods, impacting dietary habits and public health guidelines. As the scientific advisory committee reviews eating patterns and nutrient intake, the fate of the potato hangs in the balance, possibly altering its status in the American diet.

Let’s hope we can collectively make the common sense decision that regardless of whether you want to call it a vegetable, potatoes are a nutrient-dense whole food, and whole foods are good. Potatoes can also be very satiating, which is critical for sustainable weight management. However, french fries or powdered mashed potatoes out of a box aren’t what we are talking about here. That should be obvious, but you never know. 

Search Party: Chaos at the Park

Your search for the perfect family game is over. Search Party: Chaos at the Park is an epic 3-D pop-up search-and-find adventure. 

The people of Chaos City amusement park are in trouble and it's up to you to follow the characters around the park to help answer questions and solve mysteries! 

Over the course of 15 missions, you'll sabotage mad scientists, help parkgoers find love, and more. With fun pop-up structures and a highly intricate board packed with hidden objects and kooky characters, including 300 hidden items, the whole family will have a blast. 

The game is perfect for players 8+, so parents, siblings, cousins, and friends can all get searching together. Find it at Walmart, Target, Amazon, and Relatable.com. 

Brought to you by What Do You Meme? Family, a Relatable brand.

Tonic Shots

1. Kale—The Easy Way

A smoothie that tastes great is such an easy way to get some greens! No gateway potatoes needed!

2. One More If Kale Isn’t Your Thing

This green monster smoothie has it all! Enjoy!

3. A Broccoli Salad Everyone Will Love

Broccoli is packed with nutrients and fiber. Here is an easy way to serve it that everyone will love.

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