A baked potato is relatively low in calories when served alone. However, when you add extra condiments such as butter, sour cream and cheese, you also add extra calories.
One medium-sized baked potato that includes the skin contains approximately 163 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database. Leaving off the skin lowers the calorie count to 145. Baking doesn't add calories as long you don't add oil or other condiments to the skin. A medium potato supplies approximately 36 grams of carbohydrate, or around 144 calories from carbohydrate.
Adding 1 tbsp. of butter or margarine to your baked potato adds about 100 calories. Top it with 1 tbsp. of sour cream and you add about 23 more calories. Adding 1 oz. of cheese adds another 70 to 100 calories, depending on the type of cheese you use.
A baked potato can be part of a healthy, nutritious diet. Because it contains no cholesterol and very little fat, including a baked potato in your diet can help you meet recommendations by the American Heart Association for fat and cholesterol consumption.
A baked potato smothered with melted cheese ranks high on the list of comfort foods. While this side dish can certainly rack up the calories, there are ways to make your spud healthy. Opt for low-fat cheese and eat the whole potato — skin and all — to get the maximum amount of dietary fiber.
There is some variance in calorie count between different types of potatoes. A medium white potato — one that's 2 1/4 to 3 1/4 inches in diameter — has 163 calories, while a russet potato of the same size has 168 calories. A medium red potato has only 154 calories.
Ooey Gooey Cheese
A common potato topping is shredded cheddar cheese. One ounce of full-fat cheddar packs 114 calories, while the same serving size of low-fat cheese has only 49 calories. Cheese sauce will cost you 59 calories for a 2-tablespoon serving. Probably the healthiest option is nonfat cottage cheese, which has only 104 calories in a 1-cup serving.