I hate to say that this is a healthier alternative to your traditional twice baked potato, because I’m a big believer that any food can fit into any diet. However, there are some simple swaps in this recipe that have made it a little lower in fat (particularly saturated fat) and a little higher in protein than your typical twice baked potato. Basically, this is now the kind of food that I don’t mind having leftovers/ freezer meals of!
As a WIC dietitian, I talk to newly pregnant clients all day long. Often times pregnant women, especially those in their first trimester, can struggle with poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, etc. I hear reports from many women that simpler foods, blander foods, and starchier foods can sometimes be all they can keep down. When a friend of mine was telling me over the weekend that she felt she was on a potato diet in her first trimester, I had to laugh because I hear similar things every day from my clients! So when I made this recipe, I had her in mind. Something that is an easy to digest starch, like potatoes, but amped up with a little more nutrition just in case it’s the only thing you can stomach on a given day.
Twice baked potatoes are typically loaded with butter, whole milk/ half and half/ cream, cheese, sour cream, and bacon. I made the following omissions and swaps:
- No butter: omits unnecessary saturated fat
- Skim milk instead of whole milk/ half and half/ cream: provides moisture, a little protein, and doesn’t add any fat
- Reduced fat cheese instead of full fat: decreases saturated fat content
- Low fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream: decreases fat content and adds more protein
- Turkey bacon instead of regular bacon: adds a similar salty, smoky flavor as bacon, but with less fat and less calories
I was pretty happy with the nutrition on these, too. One serving has approximately 144 calories, 3.2 grams fat, 242 mg sodium, 1.8 grams fiber, 8.4 grams protein. (I say approximately, as each serving may vary depending on the size of the potato. If you try to keep your potatoes similar in size and you stuff them evenly, they should be more equivalent in their nutrition distribution!) If you’re like my friend and concerned about consuming nitrates/ nitrites during pregnancy, you can simply omit the turkey bacon altogether. And if you’re looking for a little added veggie bonus, try adding some sautéed celery and onion, or some finely chopped steamed broccoli florets. I personally can’t wait to try those add-ins next time!
So whether you’re looking for a way to add an extra punch of nutrition to a starchy side, or whether you just want a different side to try for your next family dinner, give it a go! They take a little longer to prepare, primarily because the potatoes have to bake fully first, but they’re totally worth it. Plus, if you’re like me and have a small family – I now have leftovers to stash in the freezer for easy sides for a few future dinners. And y’all know I’m all about saving time in the long run! Enjoy! 🙂
Twice Baked Potatoes
Yields: 10 servings
- 5 Russet potatoes
- 6 slices reduced fat turkey bacon
- ½ cup skim milk
- 1 cup low fat Greek yogurt
- 1 cup low fat shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Wash and dry potatoes. Using a fork, poke a few holes in each potato.
- Bake potatoes for an hour, or until fork-tender.
- While potatoes are baking, cooking turkey bacon according to package directions.
- Chop turkey bacon into bacon bit-sized pieces.
- When potatoes are cooked through, remove from oven. When cool enough to handle, slice each potato in half, length-wise. Scoop out most of the cooked potato, leaving a small border of potato around the skin edges – this will allow the potato to maintain its shape a little better when you stuff it.
- Place a sheet of foil in a 9x13-inch pan and spray with nonstick spray. Place the potato skin shells on the foil, with the cut side facing up.
- Combine the potato that has been scooped out from the potato skins with the milk, turkey bacon, Greek yogurt, a ½ cup of the shredded cheese, and the salt and pepper. Mash until it’s a smooth consistency.
- Divide the mashed potato mixture into the potato skins. Using a clean hand or a spoon, pack the potato mixture smoothly into the potato skins.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese over the tops of the potatoes. If desired, you can also sprinkle with a little extra black pepper.
- Bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are warm and the cheese is melted.