Thursday, November 29, 2012

Smash it: moving beyond the mashed potato

The vegetable ninja is back! We're using delicious mashed potatoes as a basis for trying (and liking!) new fruits and vegetables. 

I don't think I've met someone who dislikes mashed potatoes. And what's not to like? They're creamy and delicious. Turns out that many vegetables are really delicious mashed. With a variety of vegetables, leafy greens and even fruit, you can make a multitude of tasty side dishes. Do add some fat for flavor and absorption of the fat soluble nutrients (the beta-carotene that makes carrots and pumpkin orange, for example), but don't go overboard. Too much fat can tip the calories too high (and tip the scale!).

 
There is a pretty big range of calories, sugar and fiber. Notice too, that if you include the skins from you reproduce, the fiber is higher. By skipping the peeler, you need less time to prepare the food and gain better nutrition - great! Also notice that the applesauce is unsweetened. The basic applesauce for most brands is loaded with added sugars and the calories usually double. Check the label!


1 cup mashed
Pumpkin
White potato
(no skin)
White potato
(with skin)
Sweet potato
Cauliflower
Carrot
Applesauce, Unsweetened
Calories
49
113
113
249
14
27
102
Fiber (g)
2.7
1.8
2.7
8.2
1.4
2.3
2.7
Carbohydrates (g)
12
26
26
58
3
6
28
Sugar (g)
5
2
1.5
19
1
3
23

Next time you are planning mashed potatoes, try something new. Maybe you skip peeling and get dinner on the table faster - you're doing better in the fiber category. Maybe you mix your white potatoes with cauliflower - you save on calories big time! Perhaps you want to try half carrot, half sweet potato; I'll bet you like it.

Mashed veggies are also a good way to get more greens - the Irish staple Colcannon is delicious and filling, not to mention cheap! 

I've written about this before, but cooking fruit vegetable purees or mashes is a great way to introduce new flavors. When someone is having a new food for the first few times, they're experiencing both a new flavor AND a new texture. When you remove the texture part of the equation, the reluctant eater is only focused on the flavor. Build from there. Sneaking in vegetables and fruits into foods is sometimes controversial amongst my peers. I think that they are one tool to improve intake of fruits and vegetables, but they aren't the whole solution. Get your household on board with new flavors and then build upon that with the vegetables and fruits in other forms.


Reader poll: Do you have a favorite mashed fruit or vegetable?

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1 comment:

  1. What a great idea for dinner side items! I tried plain mashed cauliflower once, but it was kind of bland - I think I'll take your suggestion next time and mix it half and half with potatoes. And I never thought to do it with carrots or pumpkin.. it sounds really good.

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