Mashed Potatoes, Lightened Up

by in Meal Makeovers, April 1, 2009

Mashed Potatoes
I love mashed potatoes — garlic-flavored, sweet potatoes, chunky, skin-left-in or just the plain old creamy ones. Alas, most recipes call for tons of butter and that means loads of calories and fat. Thankfully, there are workarounds.

It All Adds Up
First, the bad news: a serving of traditional mashed potatoes can have up to 400 calories. Many calories come from the added butter and heavy cream. One tablespoon of stick butter contains 102 calories — 64% of the calories are from fat. Many recipes use a whole stick for just 6 servings. Do the math — you’re really weighing down that side!

As for heavy cream, a tablespoon is 50 calories; 94% of those calories coming from fat. Traditional recipes call for about 1/2 cup of heavy cream — that’s around 200 extra fat calories on top of the butter.

Easy Swaps
There are several routes to take to lower those calories and keep your potatoes moist. First, use less butter or a butter substitute. Try using half the amount of butter and choose whipped butter instead of stick. There are many low or no-calorie butter alternatives in your market.

You can also use low-sodium chicken (or veggie) broth. Not sure the ratio to try? Check out this Ellie Krieger recipe.

For the heavy cream, even moving to regular (whole) milk will cut the fat significantly. A 1/2 cup of whole milk contains 75 calories — that’s a savings of 125 calories! Try going for the 1% milk and you will save even more — each cup has around 105 calories.

You might also want to experiment with reduced-fat sour cream or cottage cheese to replace the milk. The ratios differ depending on how starchy your potatoes are and your texture preference, so follow recipes or test variations.

Bring On The Flavor
Add some personality to your potatoes with low-calorie herbs, spices and veggies. Chives, basil, onion and garlic really add a fresh kick (I’m making myself hungry!). Or sprinkle a touch of a strongly flavored cheese such as Parmesan or tangy goat cheese.

You can also swap the traditional russet potato for a Yukon gold or sweet potato (that’s my favorite). Keep the potato skins on for some extra fiber. Doctor up mashed sweet potatoes with cinnamon and nutmeg or with a touch of orange zest. Replace some of the potato with root veggies. Or be adventurous and go for mashed cauliflower (yeah, yeah, we know, that’s not mashed potatoes).

More posts from .

Similar Posts

How to Build a Better Chicken Pot Pie

Order this classic dish at a restaurant and you’re in for a 900-calorie meal (that’s without appetizers or dessert!). Opt for frozen and you won...

Comments (17)

  1. I love mashed potatoes but there is definitely a guilt attached to it. Another tasty and very healthy alternative is this recipe for Sweet Potato Mash Up. Not only do you get the creamy deliciousness of mashed sweet potatoes, but it also contains flaxseed oil and other nutrients that promote healthy hair, nails and skin.

  2. Jan says:

    That is all fantastic! But one more add in to make your potatoes healthier -sorry I don’t know any more tricks for lighter- Add in Spinach while potatoes are still hot but heat is off….. yum…. hey… maybe a rice or balsamic/ garlic vinegar for a bit of tang!

  3. Dave says:

    Add some curry and cayenne pepper to the sweet potates after their mashed and double bake them. these seasonings go well with squash also. watch the amount of cayenne, it can get hot.

  4. Teresa says:

    My favorite happens to be red potatoes with skins on. I scrub them, cut them in cubes, add whole cloves of skinned garlic, cook til almost done and then I heat fat free half and half and a bit of Smart Balance in a stainless steel bowl over top of the boiling potatoes which only takes a few minutes. Drain potatoes, add to heated liquid, add salt and pepper and whip to desired consistency. Mmmmmmmm…good.

  5. Gayle says:

    Instead of plain salted water for boiling potatoes, I use a bouillon cube and chopped onion &/or garlic. When mashing the potatoes, I use a little of the water to make them creamy instead of all butter or cream. I do use some butter, but I
    use 2% milk instead of heavy cream. Yum!

  6. Colleen says:

    My husband cannot possibly give up his mashed potatoes!! So, I use “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” in place of the real thing, and also skimmed milk. Very fluffy mashed potatoes! Don’t miss the heavy cream or butter at all! For special occasions, I throw in a little Fat Free Half-n-Half. I’ve also been known to add about 1/3 of a small block of reduced fat cream cheese, in place of some of the butter. When the menu dictates something beyond regular mashed, I add a couple cloves of chopped garlic to the potatoes as they are boiling – the cloves easily mix in the potatoes for a wonderful flavor!

  7. Rachael Gunnell says:

    Great ideas. My son thinks a Sunday dinner without mashed potatoes is a crime, so I make them at least once a week. I ususally use fat-free sour cream and skim milk or buttermilk and they are absolutely wonderful. Sometimes a little roasted garlic. Always just a little margarine instead of butter.

  8. Lynn & Tony Cerullo says:

    Perfect Sweet Potato Fries…cut three medium sweet potatoes into long, slim fries. Put potatoes into a zip lock with less than a 1/4 cup olive oil. Shake to coat. Foil cover your baking pan or sheet. Bake at 400* for 35 minutes. Season as you wish.

  9. SuEllen Noelck says:

    I have used buttermilk when making mashed potatoes. Give good buttery and tangy flavor. No cream or butter. Much lighter. My family thinks my mashed potatoes are the best.

  10. ptwigg says:

    Another great liquid to use is fat free half and half. You still get the creamy without the fat. I use it in lots of recipes that call for cream.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>