What's a healthier alternative to mashed potatoes?

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In many families, mashed potatoes are a staple of winter holiday celebrations and a classic comfort food. Unfortunately, the carbohydrate-laden potatoes and saturated fat in the butter and cream do not make the dish the most heart-healthy choice. Additionally, the sodium typically in the dish can contribute to high blood pressure. Try one of these ways to get the comfort of the dish, without the calories, sodium, and harmful fats.

  • Look for recipes that use a different vegetable in place of potatoes. Cauliflower and zucchini are common choices. These vegetables can be cooked and mashed and spiced similarly to mashed potatoes. When looking for recipes, select ones that use healthier oils such as olive oil and watch out for the cream content.
  • If you stick with potatoes for the dish, there are things you can do to cook a more heart-healthy version. Use fat-free evaporated milk to make creamy mashed potatoes. Use low-sodium chicken broth and roasted fresh garlic (or garlic powder) to give them a little more flavor.

Mashed caulifower. This recipe is so good. My boys love it.

From EatingWell:  February/March 2005, The EatingWell Diabetes Cookbook (2005)

Our savory cauliflower puree makes a perfect low-carb stand-in for mashed potatoes. It gets its fabulous flavor from garlic, buttermilk and a touch of butter and, best of all, it has about one-quarter of the calories of typical mashed potatoes. If you like, vary it by adding shredded low-fat cheese or chopped fresh herbs.

4 servings, 3/4 cup each | Active Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
  • 8 cups bite-size cauliflower florets (about 1 head)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk (see Tip)
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Snipped fresh chives for garnish
Preparation
  1. Place cauliflower florets and garlic in a steamer basket over boiling water, cover and steam until very tender, 12 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, place florets and garlic in a microwave-safe bowl with 1/4 cup water, cover and microwave on High for 3 to 5 minutes.)
  2. Place the cooked cauliflower and garlic in a food processor. Add buttermilk, 2 teaspoons oil, butter, salt and pepper; pulse several times, then process until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garnish with chives, if desired. Serve hot.
Nutrition

Per serving : 107 Calories; 7 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 4 g Mono; 3 mg Cholesterol; 10 g Carbohydrates; 5 g Protein; 4 g Fiber; 339 mg Sodium; 288 mg Potassium

1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 1 1/2 fat

Tips & Notes
  • Tip: No buttermilk? You can use buttermilk powder prepared according to package directions. Or make “sour milk”: mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.
Scott Pullen
Scott Pullen on behalf of dotFIT
Fitness
The salt, butter and cream of many mashed potato recipes can really wreak havoc on your healthy eating plans. Try using garlic to add flavor instead of salt. I have also seen recipes using low-sodium chicken broth to add flavor. In place of butter and cream, try using low-fat sour cream. Even just substituting low-fat or skim milk in place of the cream and using a smaller amount of omega-3-rich butter substitute can help.

Often the greatest way to make less of a fat and calorie impact is to simply allow yourself a smaller portion than what you normally would eat -- and skip the gravy, if possible.

Continue Learning about Healthy Holidays

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.