Healthy Lifestyles

Potatoes and Childhood Nutrition

Potatoes can be an optimal first food for infants. As children grow, potatoes continue to be an affordable and accessible source of essential nutrients, helping to improve children’s overall nutrient intake and diet quality.

Research has shown that potatoes can help improve children’s overall diet quality and intake, as well as potentially help promote satiety and caloric intake.

  • An Advances in Nutrition supplement, supported by APRE, explored the state of the science on children’s vegetable consumption and reinforced the important nutritive value of vegetables, especially potatoes for infants and toddlers (1). The open-access supplement can be viewed in its entirety here.
  • A 2016 study, supported by APRE, found that enjoying mashed potatoes with a meal helps to increase children’s satiety and results in significantly fewer calories being consumed, compared to when other carbohydrate dishes are eaten as accompaniments (2).
  • An NHANES analysis, supported by APRE, suggests that children ages 1 to 3 years aren’t getting enough vegetables, potassium, dietary fiber and vitamin D in their diets. White potatoes are a readily accepted nutrient-rich vegetables, offering a good source of potassium, and providing 8 percent of the Daily Value for fiber (3).
  • Research, supported by APRE, shows that removing potatoes from children’s diets may have the unintended consequence of compromising their potassium intake. Using NHANES data, when potatoes in the diet are theoretically replaced by an equal amount of a vegetable composite, the average intake of 20 of 23 nutrients studied – including potassium, fiber, sodium and total fat – would be significantly decreased (4)
  • Potatoes also help to promote childhood nutrition as part of school meals. Research, supported by APRES suggests that schools may be able to reduce plate waste and save money by optimizing entrée and vegetable pairings. A study, conducted at Texas A&M University, demonstrated that pairing entrées with popular vegetables such as white potatoes—served as oven-baked French fried potatoes, tater tots, and potato wedges—resulted in the least amount of plate waste (5).

For more information on potatoes and childhood nutrition, read:


  1. Science and Policy: Adopting a Fruitful Vegetable Encounter for our Children. Adv Nutr January 2016 7 207S-208S.
  2. Harvey Anderson G, et al. The effects of potatoes and other carbohydrate side dishes consumed with meat on food intake, glycemia and satiety response in children. Nutr Diabetes 2016 Feb; 6(2) e195.
  3. Storey M. Nutrient intakes and vegetable and white potato consumption by children 1 to 3 years. Adv Nutr 2016;7(Suppl):241S-246S.
  4. Nicklas TA. Removing potatoes from children’s diets may compromise potassium intake. Adv Nutr 2016;7(Supple):247S-253S.
  5. Capps et al. Examining vegetable plate waste in elementary schools by diversity and grade. Health Beh and Policy Rev. 2016;3(5):419-428(10).
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