A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Healthy mashed potatoes? Yes, it’s possible

Mashed potatoes are a common side dish staple, and often known as comfort food during the cold weather season. With popular diets like Ketogenic, carbs and starchy foods like potatoes have been deemed unhealthy. However, just like most food groups, mashed potatoes can be healthy if eaten in moderation, and depending on how they are cooked.

Nicole Kraft, clinical dietitian and diabetes educator with Marshfield Clinic Health System, said most of the time potatoes become a less healthy option because of how they are prepared and what is added to them.

A bowl of mashed potatoes with some chives on top of the potatoes.

You can use some alternatives to make mashed potatoes healthier.

“Potato chips and French fries are processed with more oil or saturated fat which isn’t beneficial for our heart health,” Kraft said. “If we control what we are adding to our potato, it can become a healthier more nutritious option.”

Potatoes are healthy

Potatoes are rich source of potassium, Kraft said, which helps our heart and muscles function. She said the skin is where most of the fiber is in the vegetable.

“It is a starchy vegetable, therefore it has carbohydrates, which means when it is consumed it will impact blood sugars more so than other non-carbohydrate containing foods,” Kraft said. “The key is to pair the potatoes with a lean protein source, and some heart healthy unsaturated fats to help to slow down the digestion of your food and cause less of a spike in your blood sugar after eating.”

Add low fat sides to potatoes

Kraft recommends using low-fat or fat free sour cream, plain Greek yogurt or adding a small serving of cottage cheese as a topping to potatoes. She mentioned that eating the skin of the potato, like in a baked potato, is the healthier choice. However, you will need to limit butter and extra “loaded” toppings like bacon, cheese and more.

Below is a healthy mashed potato recipe you can use to eat your comfort food without jeopardizing your heart health.

Healthy Mashed Potatoes

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes

Servings: 6


  • 2 to 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 pounds potatoes, quartered (Try Yukon Golds, which have a naturally buttery taste that’s just right in mashed potatoes.)
  • 1/3 cup light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh oregano, rosemary or thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


To roast garlic, wrap unpeeled cloves in foil. Bake in a 400F oven 25 to 35 minutes or until cloves feel soft when pressed. When cool enough to handle, squeeze garlic from peels into a small bowl.

Meanwhile, put potatoes in a large saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes; return to saucepan.

Mash potatoes and softened garlic with a potato masher or an electric mixer on low speed. Add sour cream, milk, oregano, rosemary or thyme, salt and black pepper. Beat until light and fluffy.

Note: Reduce or skip the salt to lower the sodium in this dish.

Nutrition information

Each 2/3-cup serving contains about: 156 calories; 4g protein; 34g carbohydrates; 1g fat (1g saturated); 2g fiber.

Source: fitnessmagazine.com

Print mashed potato recipe

For health recommendations, talk to a Marshfield Clinic Health System provider.

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