Eating in a calorie surplus is one of the most important parts of bulking. However, it is also important to eat the required carbs, proteins, and fats.
In honesty, most people won’t find it difficult to hit the necessary carb targets because these are often the foods most restricted when cutting.
If, however, you are struggling to reach your daily carb goals, then you may want to look at more starchy foods. Some of these include rice, pasta, bread, or potatoes and in this article, we’ll be answering the question – are potatoes good for bulking or not?
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What are Potatoes?
Potatoes are starchy vegetables that have been grown and incorporated into people’s diets for the last 8000 years. Carbohydrates make up around 60-80% of a potato’s dry weight, making it to be a great food to help reach your carb targets each day.
One of the best things about potatoes is the fact that there are numerous different ways they can be prepared. This means that there is more than likely at least one form of potato that you like and can incorporate into your meal plan.
If you are struggling with your appetite when bulking using a variety of methods to cook and prepare potatoes can really help with this and we’ll get into the best way to make potatoes when cooking later in this article.
How Many Calories are in Potatoes?
It is hard to generalize potatoes due to them being prepared in such a wide variety of ways.
For example, a fried potato, such as a chip, is going to have a far higher calorie content than a boiled potato. This is due to its method of cooking and ingredients used such as oil that can really bring the calories up.
Here are the calories for 120g of steamed potatoes.
As you can see, when it comes to calories, boiled potatoes are pretty average.
The normal serving size is around 200-300g, which equates to around 150-200 calories. These are not huge amounts of calories however this does not mean they are not useful. Boiled potatoes like this are perfect for a clean bulking or cutting diet, and make for a great meal when accompanied by chicken or salmon.
Now we’re going to look at the other end of the spectrum. Here are the calories for 100g of fried potato.
As you can see, there are around 3 times as many calories when the potato is fried. This is due to the oil and fat that it is cooked in, causing the fried potato to be a very high-calorie part of your meal. Regardless of its method of preparation, the potato will always be full of carbs. We will talk about the importance of those later.
The macro ratio for fried potatoes is definitely not as good as it might look and this is mainly due to it coming from saturated fat from the oil. While it’s going to be easier to hit your daily calorie surplus having french fries over boiled potatoes, it’s definitely a dirty bulking approach and doesn’t offer a nutritious alternative.
Related – Best dirty bulking foods
Are Potatoes Good for Bulking?
Regardless of how it is cooked, potato is a great food to be incorporated into anyone’s meal plan who is trying to bulk. Depending on the type of bulk you are currently following, should dictate the cooking technique used for your potatoes.
We have potatoes as a top option for the best bulking food and the best bulking food on a budget making it a double winner when it comes to bulking food options.
If you are on a clean bulk or maybe have a low metabolism then it may be best to lean towards a healthier option, such as boiled potatoes or steamed potatoes. These are great as they’re not too high on fat but are still packed with carbohydrates.
On the other side, if you really struggle to gain weight and have a low appetite, then chips or fries are an acceptable option – in moderation!
They may allow you to get more calories in, with a smaller portion of food, allowing you to get closer to your daily calorie goals and hopefully gain more weight. With this being said, fried food like this needs to be taken in moderation as you may gain unwanted weight due to such a high-fat content.
How to Eat Potatoes While Bulking
As stated earlier, there are hundreds of ways of eating potatoes. Some of these include roasted, steamed, or even mashed. However today we are going to discuss a few of the best ways for bulking.
Firstly, if you wish to take a slightly healthier route, then baked potato is a great way of consuming them while still enabling you to incorporate some great sources of protein.
The average baked potato contains around 200 calories, which is a great foundation for a nutritious meal, however, it isn’t too much that you will gain more weight than expected.
On top of this, you can add nutritious foods such as tuna or beans to help you reach your daily protein targets. And to top it off if you need a few more calories you can always add some grated cheese. All of these are both calorie and nutrient-dense food options that are very macro-friendly.
On the other hand, if you really struggle to gain weight and have an extremely high metabolism, then I would recommend something with a few more calories such as fries or chips.
These are great as they allow you to consume a lot of calories in a small portion, while still being packed with carbohydrates that can help with muscle repair after a long workout.
Finally, if you struggle with your appetite when bulking then I’d opt for mashed potatoes and in the past, I’ve even gone as far as utilizing instant mash. This is because it’s easy to digest and eat, especially when you’re having multiple meals each day.
Potato Alternatives for Bulking
For some people, potatoes are not an option when it comes to bulking and this can be for many reasons. Some people simply don’t like the taste, however, some people may be looking for something healthier.
The first substitute I will mention is sweet potato. They are very similar in nutrition with both being highly nutritious, however sweet potato has far higher levels of vitamin A. This is perfect as vitamin A promotes protein synthesis and muscle growth.
Sweet potatoes can be prepared in very similar ways with one of the most common being sweet potato fries. These can be accompanied by a low-fat burger to bring more protein to the meal. They also have a lower glycemic index rating making it easier to control blood sugar spikes, mood, and appetite.
The next alternative I will be mentioning is brown rice. This makes for a great source of carbohydrates, and fiber, and also provides a sustained release of energy to your growing muscles.
It can be eaten with many similar high protein foods as potatoes such as salmon, tuna, and chicken, making it a great substitute for someone who doesn’t like or is allergic to potatoes.
These are only a few suggestions as it would be impossible to cover all the alternatives. However, a few extra suggestions are things like potato bread, quinoa, and bulgur. Whether it’s for allergy or taste reasons, there is always a substitute for you.
So, after looking at this – are potatoes good for bulking?
When taking all the previous points into consideration, it is obvious that potatoes are a great food to integrate into your diet. For example, the price of potatoes is very low, meaning that this food can be accessible to a wider variety of people including students and people trying to bulk on a budget.
On top of this, you can cater your potato consumption to fit all kinds of diets. In particular, if you are someone with a low metabolism or high appetite and struggle to gain weight, then you can opt for a far more calorie-dense form such as fried potatoes or chips.
On the other hand, if you are sticking to a slightly stricter clean diet, then boiled potatoes would be a far more suitable option due to the absence of fats and oils in their cooking.
Not to mention potato’s richness in carbohydrates and its calorie density when cooked in certain ways that allow you to consume more calories within a smaller portion.
The bottom line is potatoes are a great food to incorporate into any bulking phase due to their cost, nutrition, and versatility. Potatoes should be on anyone’s shopping list who’s looking to gain weight.