Nutrient Dense Mashed Potatoes

By Jessica Campbell, MS, FNTP

As you plan your holiday meals, don't forget America's favorite comfort food. You can even bump it up a notch and make nutrient dense mashed potatoes. Here is a simple tip to increase the nutritional value and gently broaden your family's palate.

First, we are going to keep the skins on our potatoes. The skins have great fiber and nutrients we do not want to waste and you can save 20 minutes of peeling potatoes. I like to use the less starchy tubers like Yukon golds, red rose, or even purple potatoes for a really fun color. Next remove one of the potatoes you planned on using and replace it with another root vegetable. If you want to keep the mash white for picky eaters, try celery root (celeriac) which has a very mild celery taste. Turnips or rutabaga will stay white and impart a nice bite, or parsnips will add a great deal of sweetness.

If your family is not afraid of color you can replace a potato with a sweet potato, carrots, or my favorite is to use  vegetable parts that are often tossed, such as broccoli stems. Potatoes and broccoli are a great combo that most kids enjoy. The trick is to boil the vegetables together and mash them until very smooth. I use an immersion blender because I have a 5 year old inspector. Finally, load them full of cream or whole fat milk, real butter and unrefined sea salt.

Potatoes are high on the glycemic load so it is important to pair them with enough healthy fat to slow down the absorption of the available sugars in them. Plus, cream and butter will make your mashed vegetables taste better and make them more filling so that your guests feel satiated after a 1/2 cup serving instead of 2 cups.

I have been making mashed potatoes for years and my kids' palates will now endure a 40/60 mix of potatoes and other root veggies. It is so helpful, especially when the cupboard is bare and I need to be resourceful. I pull together the 1 potato left, a broccoli stem and a couple carrots and the kids love it. I serve these "mashed volcano" style with melted butter "lava" and I smile as I watch them clean their plates. Try this at home, it sure beats repeating "eat your broccoli" 100 times at dinner.