January 3, 2016

Healthy Potato Skins with Avocado Pesto Spread

healthy potato skins

Healthy Potato Skins: The Substitution Method

I am so excited about these healthy potato skins! Someone asked me the other day if cutting out bad foods all at once would put their body into shock? The short answer is no. The long answer is… Cutting foods out of your diet cold-turkey isn’t the most sustainable approach. A lot of times, doing this will cause us to crave the items that we “can’t have.” In effect, we will likely rebound, and even worse, resort to binge eating. Our bodies are smart machines. They crave certain foods for two reasons: (1) we need those nutrients, or (2) we’re addicted to those ingredients (think sugar and caffeine).

The more sustainable approach is to develop a balanced meal plan and learn to be mindful of the foods that you’re eating. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are you craving?
  • Why are you craving it?
  • How much do you think you should eat?
  • Can you commit to only eating that amount?
  • Are there any substitutions that would suffice?

Take traditional potato skins, for example. That’s what I’m craving. I’m craving them because I’m hungry and I had a tough workout yesterday. My body likely needs carbs and fat. I really only need one potato skin to feel satisfied. So I probably shouldn’t run to TGIF’s and place a full order for myself. When I look at the ingredients of traditional potato skins, I see white potatoes, butter, cow’s cheese, and sour cream. All of these things make my stomach hurt. This craving is not worth the regret that I’ll feel after. Instead, what can I substitute? Avocado would be a great healthy fat alternative to cheese, sweet potatoes would satisfy my starch craving, and greek yogurt would be a lighter option than sour cream.

Healthy Potato Skins: How To Make Your Own at Home

Based on the approach above, I’ve determined that it’ll take me less than 15 minute to satisfy this craving at home. In addition, I won’t feel riddled with regret, I will save some money, and my stomach will thank me.


Sweet Potato or Yam, 1 medium

Bacon, 1-2 slices

Avocado, 1 medium (ripe)

Fresh Basil, 1/4 cup

EVOO, 1 tbsp.

Minced Garlic, 1/2 tbsp.

Lime Juice, 1 tbsp.

Salt, 1/4 tsp.

Plain Greek Yogurt or Plain Goat’s Yogurt, 1 tbsp.

Additional Seasoning, to taste (I used parsley and salt)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Rinse and microwave a sweet potato or yam for 2 1/2 – 3 minutes (I like to use a microwaveable potato pocket, but a damp paper towel will work, too. Don’t forget to poke holes to allow the steam to escape!).
  3. Slice the potato in half, gut the insides, mash them, and refill the skin (think twice-baked potatoes). You can season with parsley and salt to taste.
  4. Place in the oven for 12 minutes. Optional: Broil for an additional 2-4 minutes for extra crispiness.
  5. Meanwhile, cook your bacon to desired crispiness. Set aside and chop when cooled.
  6. Now you can start your avocado pesto spread. Place the peeled avocado, basil, EVOO, garlic, lime, and salt in a food processor and pulse 8-10 times.
  7. When the potatoes are done, remove from the oven.  Top with avocado pesto, bacon bits, and a dollop of yogurt.
  8. Enjoy!

healthy sweet potato skins 2

healthy sweet potato skins 3

Click here to download a printable PDF version of this recipe.



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