Hanukkah is commonly referred to as the “festival of lights,” with oil holding special meaning. Because of this, oil is a key ingredient in many of the holiday’s dishes, including latkes. which are made from grated potatoes and fried in oil. They are typically served with sour cream and/or applesauce.
At some point in this eight-day celebration, skip the frying and instead try baking them with a minimal amount of oil. They will still be crispy. In fact, without excessive amounts of oil, latkes can be a wonderfully healthful snack any time of year.
For a nutritious twist on latkes, try one or more of these options:
• Keep the skin on the potatoes. Potato skin has more nutrients than the rest of the potato. The skin contains 2 grams of fiber per ounce as well as vitamins B and C, iron, calcium, potassium and other nutrients.
• Serve with non-fat Greek yogurt instead of full-fat sour cream (or try low-fat or fat-free sour cream). Incorporate other dips such as hummus or guacamole.
• Mix in other root vegetables into the recipe such as sweet potatoes, carrots or parsnips to pump up the nutritional variety.
• Serve with unsweetened applesauce instead of sweetened applesauce. Or make your own applesauce from scratch without added sugars.
• Use egg whites instead of eggs to cut the cholesterol.
Potatoes have gotten a bad reputation because of how they are typically prepared: doused in butter, deep-fried or topped with bacon and high-fat cheeses. However, akin-on potatoes themselves have an impressive nutritional content. They contain complex carbohydrates and are a rich source of heart-healthy fiber (which keeps you satisfied longer), vitamin C and potassium. In fact, potatoes have almost twice as much potassium as a banana. Potassium is essential for normal function of muscles (such as your heart) and maintaining electrolyte and water balance in your body. Potatoes also contain vitamin B6 and magnesium. Like other vegetables, potatoes are a low-calorie food (about 110 calories per potato) and are free of fat, cholesterol and sodium.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, potatoes contain phytochemicals, which are nutrients that are being studied for their role in protecting us from diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Potatoes should be clean, firm, dry and smooth (no “eyes,” spots or sprouts). For optimal shelf life, they can be kept in a cool, dry, dark, well-ventilated space for three to five weeks. Do not wash the potatoes before storing or they might decay.
This healthful latke recipe is not only baked instead of fried but also leaves the skin on the potato for extra nutrients. Serve the latkes warm with chilled non-fat Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream) mixed with freshly diced chives and black pepper. You can also serve with unsweetened applesauce and a dash of cinnamon or hummus.
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