If you’ve been stingy with the starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn and peas on your dinner plate, you may have some leeway with adding more of them to your diet. The Institute of Medicine says that Americans are falling behind on their intake of these foods, according to NPR.

I like the sound of this. Someone’s telling me I’m not eating enough starchy vegetables? Dig out my potato masher, please.

The IOM cites the government’s 2010 dietary guidelines, the ones that led to the food pyramid’s demise and the birth of MyPlate, for the change. The guidelines advise, for instance, that someone who consumes 1800-2000 calories a day should eat 5 cups of starchy vegetables a week. The IOM has raised its recommendation from 3 cups because of these new guidelines.

Another reason for the increase in the recommended amount of starchy vegetables is likely due to the National Potato Council’s lobbying of Congress to include white potatoes in the WIC Nutrition Program. About a year ago when the guidelines for the program were being changed, Congress said it would continue to leave potatoes out of the WIC program because IOM said “WIC mothers already buy plenty of them.”

After months of lobbying, though, Congress caved to the potato lobbyists who said their product’s reputation was being damaged by its exclusion in a nutrition program. White potatoes are now permitted in WIC.

Of course, no one is recommending eating a large order of fast food French fries every night or even a big bowl of homemade mashed potatoes, but it seems that adding a serving or two more of potatoes, corn and peas each week is now considered nutritionally sound advice. 

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Dig out your potato masher. You're now allowed to eat more starchy vegetables
The Institute of Medicine has raised the amount of potatoes, corn and peas it recommends you eat each week.