Healthy Alternatives to Mashed Potatoes
With the holidays coming up, there’s no doubt your family will be serving mashed potatoes again. It’s a dietary staple during this festive time of the year, and there’s a chance that you’ll eat a little too much of it as well. But did you know that mashed potatoes can be unhealthy for you?
A 100-gram serving of potatoes contains 68 grams of carbs, and offers very little dietary fiber. This is way too many carbohydrates than you should normally eat in a single day. I regularly encourage people to limit their carb consumption to just 50 grams a day from all sources, including fruits and vegetables. Carbs, when digested, turn into sugar that can cause metabolic complications in the long run.
If you still want to enjoy mashed potatoes, you need to look for healthier alternatives — namely, taking out the potatoes themselves. These three easy-to-cook recipes from Paleohacks will satisfy your “mashed” cravings without sacrificing your health during the holidays. If you want to learn more healthy recipes, Paleohacks has more to offer here.
Carrots and Rutabaga Mash
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Place the carrots and rutabaga in a large saucepan and cover with water.
- Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer; then cover and simmer again for 20 more minutes or until the vegetables are really soft.
- Drain the water.
- Mash the carrots and rutabaga with a potato masher; add the ghee and season to taste.
- Serve and sprinkle with fresh parsley on top.
Bacon and Thyme Mashed Cauliflower
- 2 pounds cauliflower florets
- 2 cloves garlic
- 6 slices organic free-range bacon
- 2 tablespoons ghee or grass fed butter
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
- Coconut oil for frying bacon
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and steam cauliflower florets and garlic cloves until tender.
- Meanwhile, cook six slices of bacon in coconut oil to desired crispness.
- Once cooked, remove the bacon and pulse in a food processor or blender until small bits are created.
- Once the cauliflower is cooked add to a blender along with ghee or butter and process until smooth.
Mashed Butternut Squash
- 1/2 roasted butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- Bone broth to cover
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Begin by roasting the butternut squash in an oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 to 70 minutes or until the squash is tender and you can poke a fork through the flesh.
- Once the butternut squash has finished roasting, cut up half the squash and put it in a small pot. Pour bone broth into the pot until it almost reaches the top of the butternut squash. Add chopped garlic. Turn heat to high until it almost starts to boil, then turn heat to medium-low.
- Once the squash is mushy enough to be able to puree, turn off the heat. Use a potato masher or a hand blender to puree. Once it is smooth, add the coconut oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper and mix with a spoon until the coconut oil has melted. Then mix again with the hand blender until smooth.
Most recipes suggest cutting the squash in half and scooping out the seeds and membrane then brushing it with oil and placing it in the oven to roast it. To save time, just put the whole squash in the oven for the same amount of time, then feel when the squash is soft when you squeeze it with an oven mitt to know when it’s done. Once it’s done, let it cool, then slice in half and scoop out the seeds and membrane. Either way will work for this recipe.
Rutabaga Is a Vegetable You Must Try
Known as “swede” around the world, rutabaga belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, making it a potent nutrient powerhouse. It is part white and part purple, with a creamy orange flesh and a nutty, turnip-like flavor. Aside from being mashed, rutabaga can be baked, fried, boiled or added to salads. The most notable thing about rutabaga, however, is its health benefits.
To start, rutabaga is low in carbohydrates, with a 100-gram serving providing only 8.1 grams.1 This makes it considerably healthier than potatoes, which have a high glycemic load that can cause rapid spikes in your blood sugar levels.2 Another notable thing about this vegetable is in the same serving, it contains 25 milligrams of vitamin C, an important nutrient essential for many biological functions such as managing blood pressure levels,3 lowering the risk of heart disease4 and significantly boosting iron absorption.5 Rutabaga also contains the following nutrients that offer various benefits:6
- Potassium — This nutrient has been shown to help reduce blood pressure in adults.7
- Phosphorus — Increased phosphorus intake may help lower the risk of hypertension.8
- Magnesium — Intake of this mineral may help manage inflammation better.9,10
Cauliflower Packs a Lot of Power
Similar to rutabaga, cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, and is commonly stir-fried, roasted or pickled. Being a crucifer, cauliflower is one of the best health food choices you can make. Research has found that this vegetable may help:
- Lower your risk of cancer — Cruciferous vegetables contain a mixture of antioxidants that have chemopreventive benefits against colorectum, lung, prostate and breast cancers.11,12,13
- Promote digestive health — A single cup of cauliflower contains 2.1 grams of dietary fiber,14 which is essential in promoting regular bowel movement, proper appetite control, stable glycemic control and prebiotic growth in your stomach.15
- Boost choline intake — Cauliflower is rich in choline, an important nutrient important to maintaining various biological processes.16 One study found that choline plays a role in lowering the risk of neural tube defects in pregnant women, lowering the risk of heart disease and managing inflammation.17
If you want to try another version of cauliflower “mashed potatoes,” try my recipe here. It uses different ingredients, which open up a completely new world of flavors for you to enjoy.
Butternut Squash Can Be a Great Alternative to Potatoes
Another vegetable that can work great as a healthy substitute for potatoes is butternut squash, thanks to its creamy and soft flesh. Mashing it gives a new twist to how you eat it, since it is often baked, sautéed or steamed.18
Another notable thing about butternut squash is that it has certain health benefits that will definitely catch your attention. This vegetable is high in antioxidants, which can help neutralize dangerous free radicals throughout your body.19 Another study has found that the winter squash family (the one that butternut squash belongs to) can help boost the immune system thanks to its beta-carotene content.20 Butternut squash may also reduce the risk of cancer, as evidenced in a study published in Cell Research.21
Make Your Mashed ‘Potatoes’ Healthier and Tastier by Adding Keto Gravy
Instead of consuming the usual mashed potatoes during the holidays, expand your horizons by trying out the three alternatives outlined above. I guarantee that these will be just as good, if not better, than regular mashed potatoes. To make them even healthier and tastier, pour some homemade keto gravy over them to produce fat-burning ketones that your body will surely appreciate.
- 1 USDA Agricultural Research Service, “Rutabagas, Raw”
- 2, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “Carbohydrates and Blood Sugar”
- 3 The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2012 May;95(5):1079-88
- 4 The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2004 Dec;80(6):1508-20
- 5 The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000 May;71(5):1147-60
- 6 USDA Agricultural Research Service, “Rutabagas, Raw”
- 7 World Health Organization, “Guideline: Potassium Intake for Adults and Children”
- 8 Hypertension, 2010 Mar;55(3):776-784
- 9 Magnesium Research, 2010 Dec;23(4):158-68
- 10 The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2011 Feb;93(2):463-73
- 11 Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 2013;14(3):1565-70
- 12 Pharmacological Research, 2007 Mar;55(3):224-236
- 13 Integrative Cancer Therapies, 2004 Mar;3(1):5-12
- 14 USDA Agricultural Research Service, “Cauliflower, Raw”
- 15 Nutrients, 2013 Apr;5(4):1417-1435
- 16 SELFNutritionData, “Cauliflower, Raw”
- 17 Nutrition Reviews, 2009 Nov;67(11):615-623
- 18 EatingWell, “How to Cook Butternut Squash”
- 19 Carbohydrate Polymers, 2014 Nov 26;113:314-214
- 20 Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology, 2016 Oct;38(5):319-26
- 21 Cell Research, 2003 Oct;13(5):369-74