Trim Thanksgiving: Mashed Potatoes


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

This is part of a series of blog posts about how to slim down your Thanksgiving side dishes and treats. For more information about healthier Thanksgiving cooking, read this article.

For most people, Thanksgiving Day isn't Thanksgiving without turkey. In my house, the turkey is important, yes, but the mashed potatoes are our side dish of choice. Forget the spuds, and you might as well put Turkey Day on hold.

Those starchy, delicious potatoes are not exactly healthy:
Serving size=1 cup (about the size of a softball)
220 calories 8 g fat
But, you can easily slim them down without sacrificing texture or flavor.

  • Use a potato masher or a ricer for fluffier potatoes.
  • Go easy on the butter, and nix the cream and whole milk. Try these lower-calorie flavor additions instead:
  • Heat skim milk with some herbs and add just enough to thin the potatoes. Snip chives into the potatoes before serving.
  • Use low-fat sour cream, cream cheese or even plain yogurt for added creaminess. (My mom adds roasted garlic and low-fat cream cheese. It's delicious!)
  • Add chicken or vegetable broth or strained pan juices from the turkey to punch up your spuds.
  • Salt sparingly, and only add salt at the end.
  • Boil your potatoes whole to retain more potassium.
  • Mash them in their skins (opt for organic taters if you choose this cooking method) to boost the nutritional content and add some fiber.

These spuds weigh in at fewer than 100 calories a serving!

Our friends at Chow have plenty of tips on perfecting mashed potatoes, too.

How do you make your mashed potatoes? What kind do you use?

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  • 44
    I use a potatoe/cauliflower mixture and use light soymilk and margarine.(husband allergic to dairy) They mashed really well and tastes just like the real thing. - 12/5/2008   1:48:06 PM
  • 43
    Oh, I love Mashed P. but they don't LOVE ME. TRIGGER food, just like they were for OPRAH. - 11/28/2008   3:10:26 AM
  • 42
    I love mashed potatoes, I could eat them by the bowl-full unfortunately. I find that leaving the skins on and adding garlic or herbs makes them even more delicious, to the point that I don't miss the milk or cheese at all. :) - 11/27/2008   9:14:31 PM
    I love mashed potatoes. Now I have some alternative ideas. - 11/27/2008   3:33:34 PM
  • 40
    This is a great article. I love all the ideas on how to make healthier mashed potatoes. Thanks! - 11/27/2008   12:35:19 PM
  • 39
    I always use Chicken broth to add flavor, the no or low sodium. I never add salt b/c the broth takes care of it. I also use low fat sour cream. Husband hates sour cream and doesnt even notice! *wink wink* - 11/26/2008   1:11:06 PM
  • 38
    I use the evaporated fat-free skim milk, too! Very creamy texture.

    If it's not Thanksgiving, my regular trick is to use a box of instant mashed spuds (like Yukon gold variety), cook 1-2 spuds in the microwave and then mash them into the box mixture (skins and all). I don't add any butter to the mix. Very tastly and fast! - 11/26/2008   11:02:56 AM
  • 37
    I've just discovered using plain, lowfat yogurt in the potatoes - no butter, cream, cheese, or even broth required! Tangy, light, and fluffy, great w/ some chopped chives. - 11/26/2008   9:12:33 AM
  • 36
    white potatoes with a little 2% milk and low fat butter and some garlic powder - 11/26/2008   8:49:31 AM
  • 35
    Laughing Cow wedges are found in the cheese section. They are little wedges of cheese in a round container. I'll have to try that! - 11/26/2008   7:55:15 AM
    I use (5 pounds) red-skinned potatoes, leave the peels on and cut them into chunks. I peel and mash 4 or 5 cloves of garlic and add that and a couple of teaspoons of chicken bouillion (sp?) granules to the water when I boil the potatoes. Once they're cooked, I drain them, reserving the liquid, and mash the potatoes and garlic together. Then I add 8 oz of fat-free cream cheese and 8 oz. of fat-free sour cream and continue mashing. Like others have mentioned, I use the hot cooking liquid while mashing until the potatoes are a nice, creamy texture that's a little on the "soupy" side, but leave some "lumps" of potatoes. Then I transfer them to a slow cooker and store in the fridge overnight. The following morning, I heat the potatoes in the slow cooker for about 4 hours on low, adding freshly ground black pepper and stirring frequently. That way I can clean up the biggest part of the mess the night before. This will make enough mashed potatoes for about 20 servings. You can make a smaller batch for fewer people by cutting all the ingredients in half. I usually make the full batch and send the leftovers home with my bachelor son, who can then "nuke" single servings to go with his dinner meals. These can actually be frozen, too, and reheated sucessfully in a microwave. By using fat-free sour cream and fat-free cream cheese, there is very little fat content, but you'll never miss the butter and whole milk in terms of taste or consistency. - 11/26/2008   7:37:29 AM
  • 33
    We don't have mashed potatoes that often but they are a MUST for holiday meals........or the grandkids would have a fit. - 11/26/2008   6:37:43 AM
  • 32
    Anyone tell me what laughing cow wedges are?

    I love mashed or baked potatoes but hubby has diabetes and they are not soo good for him so we only have them occasionally now, and substitute brown rice or delicious butternut squash or sweet potatoes :) - 11/26/2008   12:50:26 AM
    I use many of these tips, but unfortunately, we're eating at mom-in-laws and she refuses to cook healthier, lower calorie versions of her favorites. So I will be eating less this year and maintaining my weight this week instead of losing my weekly pound. - 11/26/2008   12:09:02 AM
    After boiling the potatoes, I drain the liquid into a bowl, add nonfat instant milk to the liquid, then add the liquid I need back into the potatoes as I beat them. This keeps from cooling down the potatoes as well as adding vitamins back into them. For more cream, I add cream cheese. - 11/25/2008   11:59:58 PM
  • 29
    We love mashed potatoes and I already do several of the things you suggested. But I still got some ideas, so thank you! - 11/25/2008   10:27:01 PM
    I've actually found a way to just skip the potatos! Keeping the flavor & low-carb. Check my sparksrecipe for Caulitaters! - 11/25/2008   8:52:52 PM
  • 27
    Mashed potatoes...YUM!! - 11/25/2008   6:19:33 PM
  • 26
    I add a sweet potato or two to the pot, to add vitamins, flavor, and color. Sometimes, I mash in some garlic and nonfat sour cream. - 11/25/2008   4:55:58 PM
    When I was a lad it was usually my chore to make mashed potatoes. My mom taught me to make them with plenty of butter, whole milk, mayonaise, salt and pepper. I have to admit that they sure came out good this way! When I moved out I modified my mashed potatoes by leaving the skins on, adding lots of garlic, and using fresh ground pepper and seasoned salt for a little more kick. Most people tell me they are the best mashed potatoes they ever tried and they are so good some people don't even want gravy because they don't want to cover up the flavor!

    For the last few years I've been trying to make great potatoes without all the calories from the butter and mayonaise. I've tried a few things here but the spuds while good just aren't as good as the rich decadent mashers I used to make.

    I've resigned myself to making different batches of spuds. One rich batch my old way, one batch with no garlic (my father-in-law is allergic), and one plain with just some water from cooking for those dieting. - 11/25/2008   1:46:15 PM
  • 24
    DH and I make our mashed potatoes with coconut milk (which we mix ouselves from a powder), so we can make them as creamy as we like by making the milk thicker. And we leave the skins on for all the vitamins. We found some awesome red-skinned potatoes recently that were more the size of baking potatoes and had more of a golden flesh. They were almost sweet, they are so good. Now we're just trying to remember from which store we got them! I think I've convinced DH that we need to use roasted garlic in the potatoes for Thanksgiving. We're making for over 20 people! - 11/25/2008   12:33:24 PM
  • 23
    I have 2 in my family who are lactose intol.
    we use soy milk for our smashed potatoes. (use the plain! *NOT* vanilla!!! Don't ask me how I know LOL)
    OH, we like the lumps, too
    I'm not a gravy liker, so I top my with real butter - I think that fake/artificial anything is worse for you than a bit of the real thing - 11/25/2008   12:12:07 PM
  • 22
    I'm gonna try COFFEEWOMAN's suggestion about adding a wedge of flavored laughing cow to my potatoes. - 11/25/2008   10:58:12 AM
  • 21
    I always eat the skins of white or sweet potatoes. We generally have two potatoes plus stuffing! This year just sweet, they give us the most nutrition and mine will be plain! - 11/25/2008   10:22:13 AM
  • 20
    When I make mashed potatoes at home I often leave the skins on red potatoes and use buttermilk or plain yogurt in place of whole milk or cream. We wil be at my parents house for Thanksgiving and it is not likely that I will be making the mashed potatoes . . .. i will eat what ever my mom makes (in smaller portions) and be Thankful that she is still with us to prepare such wonderful dinner for her family.
    Sometimes you just have to go with the flow rather than make waves at family gatherings.
    - 11/25/2008   9:55:58 AM
  • 19
    I've never had mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. I live in SC where rice is queen. There's usually rice with giblet gravy. I'm skipping the gravy this year and having a broccoli-brown-wild rice pilaf. Now that I think about it, I've had mashed potatoes only once this year, gravy free. - 11/25/2008   9:54:04 AM
  • 18
    we use red potatoes and leave the skin on about half of them. - 11/25/2008   8:52:40 AM
  • 17
    I will have to try some of these. Potatoes are also a must at our house for Thanksgiving:) - 11/25/2008   7:56:05 AM
  • 16
    Good suggestions, will have to see if I can get Mom to use them! - 11/25/2008   6:56:44 AM
  • 15
    I use hot water on my mashed potatos I got that from a cooking show every body loves them doesnt make them pasty like milk - 11/25/2008   6:28:06 AM
    Potatoes are my weakness. Great ideas in the article and comments. - 11/25/2008   6:16:34 AM
  • 13
    How about using non fat evaporated milk? We've used evaporated milk in Mashed potatoes with butter as long as I can imagine. If I used the Skimmed version and use I can't Believe It's Not butter spray once it's on the plate, that would be a lower cal version...
    - 11/25/2008   12:03:59 AM
    I don't think cheez whiz is going to be more healthy! I use chicken stock to make them moist and not too much, or it will make them runny! I add smart choice spread instead of butter, and only at the end. I think the best mashed taters are the "FAUX" ones made out of mashed cauliflower though! Nobody in my family can tell the difference! - 11/24/2008   11:12:32 PM
  • SHERI1969
    My mom uses rice for her stuffing and instead of using butter and salt on our mashed potatoes, we put in a touch of Cheeze Whiz. The stuffing is lighter and the potatoes already have the salt and milk it needs with the Cheeze Whiz. Lots of ways to cut back. - 11/24/2008   10:40:00 PM
  • 10
    I always save the water I cooked the potatoes in and mix some of it back into the potatoes as I mash them. - 11/24/2008   9:33:49 PM
  • 9
    I have developed a habit of tossing in a few Laughing Cow wedges with fat free milk. You can get the wedges in garlic and herb or french onion and they are 35 calories apiece. - 11/24/2008   9:11:52 PM
  • 8
    We call them refrigerator potatoes - I mash with fat free cream cheese and fat free sour cream a little salt and pepper. They will stay up to 10 days in the refrigerator and warm in the microwave really well. Delish - 11/24/2008   6:10:40 PM
  • 7
    You can use Cauliflower in place of potatoes cook it and mash like you would potatoes lower in Cal and don't taste to bad. You can add the skim milk and low fat butter looks like mash potatoes
    I still like my sweet potatoes and potates but for something different the Cauliflower is good and lower in Cal.
    Happy Thanksgiving all - 11/24/2008   5:26:39 PM
    I never us butter or regular milk in my mashed potatoes. I all ways cook my potatoes with the peel on them, I cook them in fat free chicken broth and I add onions, Garlic, skim milk heated up,and country crock, no salt but fresh ground pepper. Mash them up with a potato masher and voila. - 11/24/2008   5:16:38 PM
  • 5
    My mash potatoes have never had butter and always had skim milk, pepper and a little garlic. Sometimes I would use fat free chicken broth but we really could not tell the difference so we went back to plain old water. We have never salted the water or the potatotes. So maybe our potatoes are bland but lucky for me the family love them :) - 11/24/2008   4:56:34 PM
  • 4
    I'm all about the mashed sweet potatoes. SO good! - 11/24/2008   4:54:35 PM
  • KJONES1479
    This article is very informative because I need to crave all the pounds off this holiday season. - 11/24/2008   4:52:34 PM
  • 2
    Well I have a new spin on mashed spuds I use roasted garlic cracked black pepper and NSA chicken stock which I make myself so is fat free and salt free I am allowed half cup of spud and a cup if I am using this meal as a workout lol and belive me I LOVE my spud try it see if ya like it - 11/24/2008   4:44:48 PM
  • 1
    I love mashed potatoes. These ideas sound good to me! - 11/24/2008   4:22:48 PM

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