While my meal prep game hasn’t been quite as strong since having Cooper, potatoes are still prepped nearly every week in the Jones household, even if it just means baking several pounds in a baking dish while we roast some veggies in the oven. Later in the week we may pair them with eggs at breakfast or give them a second quick roast in a pan for some crispiness to pair with a protein and vegetable at dinner. This mighty starch is not only tasty at all of these meals, but does an excellent job nourishing us and supporting our active lifestyles!
By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Potatoes USA and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
The latter benefit of potatoes is not only for us, but also for any athlete or active individual. It’s why I make it a point to dispell the myth that “white foods are bad” whether I’m speaking to my students, a community group, or a team. It’s also why potatoes in some form are on the menu 4-5 times per week for the minor league baseball teams I work with, and I emphasize the ability to microwave a “baked” potato to college athlete’s in their dorms.
You see, potatoes provide the energy needed for athletes and active individuals to perform their best both physically and mentally. A medium potato, regardless of color, will provide 110 Calories of mostly carbohydrate – the preferred energy source for both the brain and your muscles! Without adequate carbohydrate – the macronutrient stored in muscle cells and the liver as glycogen – your body and brain will have a tough time performing their best when your body wants to engage in quick movements, requires energy bursts like sprints, or needs to think quickly. (1)
On top of the quality energy, potatoes also provide plenty of Vitamin C and one of my favorite facts… more potassium than a banana! Vitamin C is actually used in higher amounts by endurance athletes and athletes who engage in cold weather sports since it is an antioxidant that protects the lungs. The more stress on your lungs, the more protection they need. Potassium is an important electrolyte that aids in muscle, cardiovascular and nervous system function. (1)
While the carbohydrate in potatoes seems like a no brainer to fuel your workouts, it’s also important in helping you recover. While protein is most discussed as a post-workout nutrient to aid in muscle recovery, having it paired with carbohydrate is crucial to replace the energy you’ve used during exercise so that you have adequate fuel available to recover and just engage in basic body functions before your next workout. One wonderful benefit of the carbohydrate in potatoes versus some other starches (such as white pasta or rice), is that it provides a high level of satiety. This is helpful when you’re really hungry after a tough training session and need a balanced meal that is also filling. (2).
1 Nutritional data is based on a 5.2 ounce skin-on potato.
2 Gelibter A, et al Satiety following intake of potatoes and other carbohydrate test meals. Ann Nutr Metab. 2013;62:37-43
While my potato meal prep mentioned above is great in “emergency” situations, this potato taco bake is perfect when you have some time to dedicate to cooking on the weekend. Fall is when I really like to include prep in my routine because, as for most families, this is when I have more of a weekly routine that needs satisfying and energizing food readily available. You can prep the potatoes and taco mixture on the weekend and store in the refrigerator so it’s ready to be popped into the oven on Taco Tuesday for a post-workout dinner. Or, you can bake it on the weekend and divide it up into storage containers to bring to work if you exercise on your lunch break. With 8 servings per recipe, you’ll likely get more than one meal for your family out of this, too.
Other bonuses to this recipe? A balanced amount of protein so that you get what you need without overdoing it and about 1/4 of your daily needs for iron, a nutrient that athletes (especially female athletes) need more of than the general population. The lentils are providing most of these nutrients and are a great assist to the mighty potato 🙂
Let me know in the comments – what is your favorite preparation of potatoes? Do you already include them in your weekly prep?
Vegan Potato Taco Bake
Calories 370, Fat: 4 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 225 mg, Carbohydrates: 62 g, Fiber: 10 g, Potassium: 610 mg (17% DV), Protein: 19 g, Vitamin C: 28 mg (47% DV)
Vegan, Gluten Free
- 2.25 lbs yellow potatoes
- 1/2 + 1 tbsp olive oil, separated
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño, minced
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
- 2 Cups cooked green lentils
- 1 large can (28 Oz) dices tomatows
- 1 4 ounce can diced green chilies
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- Taco seasoning: 2 tsp chili powder, 3/4 tsp garlic powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, ginger, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp cayenne, black pepper, salt
- Cilantro to garnish
- Set oven to 475 and spray a medium baking dish with cooking spray
- After washing your potatoes, dice into 1/4-1/2 inch cubes and toss in 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- Place potatoes in baking dish, spread evenly and bake for 40 minutes
- While potatoes are baking, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over low-medium heat before adding garlic and jalapeño. Stir and cover for 1-2 minutes.
- Add onion, stir and cover another 3-4 minutes.
- Add the tomato, green onion and lentils, stir and cover while you make the taco seasoning, about 3 minutes.
- Mix together all spices before spreading over mixture in the pan and stirring well.
- Add the nutritional yeast, stir and remove from heat.
- Once potatoes have baked to a slight golden brown, remove from the oven and stir before pouring the taco mixture over them.
- Stir slightly so that the mixture is evenly distributed, and place back in the oven for 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can let the mixture cool and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days before reheating for 30 minutes in the oven.
- Serve on its own or with greens and avocado.