The dirt on potatoes

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Did You Know?

-The potato became  the first food ever grown in outer space in 1995 on the Space Shuttle Columbia.

-Potatoes are the 4th most important crop in the world, following only corn, wheat, and rice.

-Potatoes produce more nutritious food more quickly, on less land, and in harsher climates than any other major crop.

-Potatoes are a versatile, cost-efficient, staple vegetable that pretty much everyone needs/wants. People all over the world eat potatoes, regardless of culture or background.

-Potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, which make them a good source of energy. They also contain vitamins and minerals that are vital to human nutrition.

– A single medium-sized potato contains about half the recommended daily intake of vitamin C and twice the amount of potassium as in one banana.

-The fiber content of a potato with skin is equivalent to that of many whole grain breads, pastas and cereals.

Why are potatoes so important to the House of Friendship?

In 2009, the House of Friendship used 24,000 lbs of potatoes to pack Christmas food hampers10,000 lbs in meals at the men’s hostel, and  in excess of 110,000 lbs of potatoes through the Emergency Food Hamper Program.

 According to Canada’s Food Guide, the average person should consume 7 servings of Vegetables and Fruit per day. At the Emergency Food Hamper Program, for example, potatoes play an integral role in providing patrons with their daily requirement of fruits and vegetables when they receive a food hamper. The chart below shows the  difference (on average) of having potatoes in a hamper for the daily vegetable servings based on the food guide recommendations.

  Number of days that an average HoF food hamper would meet Canada’s Food Guide vegetables and fruit recommendations
Household Size When Potatoes are Included When Potatoes are   Not Available
1 person 9.7 5.5
2 person 5.6 3.7
3 person 6.3 3.5
4 person 5.3 3.2

As you can see, if potatoes were not available for distribution in an average  emergency food hamper, there would be a significant decrease in the amount of vegetable servings available to individuals and families in need. It’s important to keep in mind however, that every day at the Emergency Food Hamper Program is very different depending upon the season, donations, demand, and other factors, which means that sometimes the serving amounts can be much higher, or much lower, than the averages presented above.

Whichever way you look at it, the humble potato is a healthy diet choice, and an important part of House of Friendship’s food assistance programs.

 

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3 Responses to “The dirt on potatoes”

  1. Taylor Says:

    Wow! Twice the potassium of a banana? The pototo is great! It has gotten a bad rap in the diet world because of its carbs, but they always ignore the benefits. Potassium, Lots of Vitamin C, and other minerals vitamins.

  2. Becky Says:

    Sounds like a wonder vegetable to me!

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