Spuds make a great side to a juicy steak or fresh piece of salmon. They also make an excellent meal on their own. But if you're watching what you eat, you might want to calculate the number of calories in a baked potato with cheese and beans because it is probably a lot higher than you think.
The calories in a baked potato with beans and cheese can range from 500 to 1,000.
Baked Potato and Beans Nutrition
Baked potatoes are affordable, easy to prepare and they taste great. But since they don't come with a nutrition label, it can be difficult to know how many calories are in your favorite spud. The good news? The USDA has an online food database that has all the information you need to determine baked potato and beans nutrition.
A medium-sized baked potato with skin has 161 calories, 4.3 grams of protein, 0.2 grams of fat and 36.6 grams of carbohydrates, according to the USDA. But if you ditch the skin and just eat the flesh, you're looking at 145 calories, 3 grams of protein, 0.156 grams of fat and 33.6 grams of carbohydrates for a baked potato without skin.
Depending on the serving size, the number of calories in a baked potato with cheese and beans can range anywhere from 500 to 1,000 calories. You also need to consider the type of beans.
For example, 1 cup of chili beans has approximately 260 calories, 12 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat and 44 grams of carbohydrates, according to the USDA. Add 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, which has 228 calories, 12 grams of protein, 18 grams of fat and 1.5 grams of carbohydrates, and you can see how the calories in a baked potato with cheese and beans can go as high as 1,000.
Baked Potatoes and Weight Loss
Whether you're trying to lose weight or maintain the weight you've lost, making healthy food choices is critical for both short-term and long-term success. Including potatoes in your diet is possible, as long as you go light on the toppings.
Unfortunately, it's the toppings that are high in calories that often make it on your potato. Going heavy on sour cream, butter and cheese can double the number of calories and fat, which means, you no longer have a healthy baked potato. So, if you want to incorporate baked potatoes in your diet, there are a few things you can do to make them even healthier.
The Cleveland Clinic recommends keeping the skin on a white potato since the skin has fiber. Eating fiber at each meal helps to keep the food moving through your digestive system and it keeps you full longer, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Read more: Are Baked Potatoes Healthy?
Baked Potato Toppings
One of the things that makes spuds the perfect meal is the ability to add just about anything to them. That said, you may want to stay away from butter, full-fat sour cream and cheese if you're looking for ways to reduce the overall number of calories and fat.
But just because you ditch the high-calorie toppings doesn't mean that your only option is a plain potato. To keep your spud flavorful, but healthy and low in calories, consider adding a healthier option, including:
- Low-fat Greek yogurt
- Low-fat sour cream
- Chopped veggies such as spinach, chives, broccoli, green onions, mushrooms, peppers
- Chunky salsa
- Black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans or low-fat chili beans
- Shredded chicken with low-sugar barbecue sauce
- Ground turkey
If your eyes are bigger than your stomach, you may find yourself with a lot of leftovers. Before you throw the extra in the fridge, try to scoop out as many of the ingredients as possible and place them in a bowl.
When you're ready to reheat the potato, put it in the microwave or oven, and heat for the desired time. Once it's thoroughly heated, you can add the leftover ingredients, and you have another meal.
- USDA FoodData Central: "Chili Beans"
- USDA FoodData Central: Cheddar Cheese"
- Cleveland Clinic: "4 Starches That Don't Belong on Your Plate"
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Fiber"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Potatoes, Baked, Flesh and With Skin"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Potatoes, Baked, Flesh, Without Salt"