Potatoes are always on the menu

It may be July but my holidays are over for now, I’m back in pre-season training already with Ulster so I have to start watching what I eat again. Some might say it’s easier for me as we get a lot of expert nutritional advice but it’s up to me to keep a diet that gives me lots of energy while maintaining a healthy weight. Luckily, for me because they are one of my favourites, potatoes are always on the menu and we are now in new potato season!

Rich in carbohydrates, potatoes are a fantastic fuel for an athlete or anyone really, they are a great source of starchy energy in our diets. Potatoes contain some protein, little or no fat and have almost twice the amount of fibre as you would get from a similar portion of brown rice. I also learnt recently that they are a source of potassium, important for a healthy blood pressure, and contribute a significant amount of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant and important for immune health, to the diet.

That’s the science bit but the best thing about new season potatoes is that they taste great and they are quick and easy to cook – always a bonus in my view!

Don’t overcook them though, put them in boiling water, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until they are tender. Drain and leave to cool slightly – they carry on cooking while this happens.

If you are like me and get cravings for good old chips you can opt for the healthy alternative with new season potatoes by creating your own homemade wedges. Simply cut potatoes into wedges with their skins, parboil them for about 10 minutes, drain and transfer them to a baking tray, season with a little salt and pepper and bake in the oven with a little olive oil. I sometimes add a little of garlic or chilli to spice them up a little!