Sweet Potato vs. White Potato: which is healthier? + Roast Potato & Crispy Kale Salad with Green Goddess Dressing (gf/vg)

Roast potato & crispy kale salad

There seems to be a continued debate on whether white or sweet potato is better for us. Should we opt for one over the other? I did some research to find out how they stacked up nutritionally. Have a read then make this delicious potato salad recipe that can be enjoyed served warm or cold. It’s perfect for BBQs, get togethers, or make a big batch on a Sunday for meal prep and add it to your weekday lunches.

white potato vs sweet potato

Sweet Potato

100g (a cupped handful) of raw sweet potato (skin on) has 86 calories, 20g carbohydrates (12.7g starch, 3g fibre, 4.2g sugar), 1.6g protein, and virtually no fat or cholesterol. It is rich is the antioxidant beta-carotene (vitamin A) for eye health, providing over 14,000IU, 2x our recommended dietary intake (in Australia). Sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin B6, and contains small amounts of other B vitamins required for healthy metabolism and nervous system function. It also contains some vitamin C, potassium, manganese and magnesium.

White Potato

100g of raw white potato (skin on) has 69 calories, 17g carbohydrates (13.5g starch, 2.4g fibre, 1.2g sugar), 1.7g protein and virtually no fat or cholesterol. Whilst it doesn’t contain much vitamin A, white potato is over 8x higher in vitamin C for immune health, providing nearly 20mg per 100g, almost half of our recommended dietary intake. It is equal in vitamin B6 and also contains some potassium and magnesium.
Both potatoes contain L-tyrosine and L-tryptophan, precursors to dopamine and serotonin, our “feel good” neurotransmitters.

Carbohydrate Types: Resistant Starch

You may have noticed sweet potatoes are higher in sugar, which is what makes them sweeter! However both contain resistant starch (higher in white potato than sweet) – complex starch molecules that we can’t digest. These are then broken down and fermented by our gut bacteria in our large intestine to produce short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs feed our gut bacteria and provide many other heath benefits!

An interesting fact about the type of resistant starch in potatoes, is that when you cook and cool potatoes the resistant starch molecules changes and produce even higher levels of resistant starch. This means we are actually absorbing less carbohydrates and calories from cooked and cool potatoes!

What about the glycemic index (GI)?

The GI of both sweet and white potato changes depending on the type (how waxy the potato is), how you cook it and how much you consume. When you combine either potato in a meal with protein and fats the GI changes (as protein and fats, along with fibre slow the digestion process), thus you will get a slower release of sugar (from broken down carbohydrates) into the bloodstream. If you are active, not insulin resistant, and eating balanced meals, you needn’t be overly concerned with glycemic index of complex carbohydrate sources like potatoes.

Is one healthier?

So which one is healthier you ask? Both sweet and white potato are full of vitamins, minerals, fibre and health benefits and should equally be enjoyed!

There’s honestly no one food which provides you with all the nutrients you need for optimal health. We also know that a diversity of food ensures we consume a variety of vitamins, minerals, polyphenols and different types of fibre for better gut health and overall optimal health.

potato salad with crispy kale

The Green Goddess Dressing used in the recipe can be found here.

Roast Potato & Crispy Kale Salad with Green Goddess Dressing (vg/gf)

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 800g mixed white & sweet potato
  • 1/2 bunch green kale, washed
  • Cobram Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for cooking
  • Sea salt, to taste

Click here for the recipe for Green Goddess Dressing 

(This dressing recipe will make extra that you can keep in the fridge for salads or other recipes. Alternatively halve the recipe to make enough just for this salad).

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line 1-2 large baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Wash and chop potato into small bite sized pieces and spread out over baking tray. Season with sea salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat.
  3. Place potato trays in the oven and bake for around 30 mins, tossing half way through, until golden and cooked through.
  4. Wash kale and remove leaves from the large stems (discard stems). Spread out over another baking tray and season with sea salt.
  5. Once potato is ready remove from the oven and place the kale tray in the oven. Bake for about 5 mins until crispy, tossing half way through. Watch carefully as kale can turn from crispy to overdone very quickly!
  6. In the meantime, make the green goddess dressing according to the recipe in the link above.
  7. To serve: spread potato over a serving dish. Gently toss kale through. Drizzle with Green Goddess Dressing and serve additional dressing on the side.

References:
  • https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/vitamin-a
  • https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2666/2
  • https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2548/2
  • https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/vitamin-c
  • https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-resistant-starch
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