Make Ahead – Healthy Mashed Potatoes and Turnips


Make Ahead – Healthy Mashed Potatoes and Turnips – Don’t stress over side dishes for Christmas dinner. Make them ahead.

And if you are having Standing Rib Roast like we are, what a better side than healthy Mashed Potatoes and Turnips — peppery potatoes with the added health benefits of golden turnips! You know me, I need to add vegetables to everything. To make a classic side dish healthier, I cut the potatoes in half with golden turnips and added grass fed cream cheese for that extra creamy taste with rosemary salt and garlic.

A healthy side dish option

I think a lot of people worry that mashed potatoes aren’t healthy, but let’s not forget that potatoes are a root vegetable and they are extremely affordable. The farmer’s markets are loaded with every color of potato imaginable right now. Just make sure you are buying organic and local. They are one of the dirty dozen that you should avoid eating if not organic.

Potatoes are low in calories and have no fat. Eating a potato with the skin will make you feel fuller, longer than carbohydrates made with refined flour — like white rice and pasta — because the starch in a potato digests more slowly than refined carbohydrates.

Yukon Gold potatoes are a valuable source of vitamins and minerals

Potatoes have almost half of your daily recommended value of vitamin C, half of your potassium and 10% of the RDA of vitamin B6. Potato skins contain at least 60 different phytochemicals and vitamins, most being flavonoids that play a role in lowering bad cholesterol. Potatoes are all fairly low in sodium; Yukon Gold potatoes have only 10 milligrams of sodium per medium potato, compared to 24 milligrams in a white potato and 27 milligrams in a red potato. Yukon Gold potatoes also have more protein than white potatoes.

You can lower the overall Glycemic Index of potatoes if you eat them with:

  • Fat – Olive oil, butter, sour cream or avocados will lower the GI. This makes a fully loaded baked potato a better choice than plain if you are worried about blood sugar.
  • Acid – Vinegar, citrus or salsa lowers the GI of a plain potato.
  • Protein – Eating potatoes in combination with protein like standing rib roast also lowers GI, making steak and potatoes a better choice than potatoes alone.
  • Fiber – Adding other fiber-rich foods like raw vegetables to a potato slows down digestion and lowers GI. So eat a romaine or kale salad with your potatoes.
  • Other low GI foods – Eating a combination of foods, including lower GI foods, reduces the combined GI load of a meal that includes potatoes.

It is also how you prepare the potatoes:

  • Eat the skin – Eating the skin of the potato not only adds vitamin C, but also fiber, and fiber helps lower the GI index.
  • Cook and cool – An interesting study found cooking a potato and then cooling it before you eat it also lowers GI, even if you later reheat the potato. Same goes for pasta.
  • Boil – Boiling a potato results in a lower GI than baking.

And the type of potato:

  • Waxy potatoes have lower GI than flour-y russet potatoes.
  • Sweet potatoes have even lower GI due to all the fiber.

Add turnips:

  • Like most vegetables, turnips have a glycemic load of just 1 point.
  • Turnips are rich in vitamin C, a very good source of anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber.
  • Turnips are low in calories and will not raise your blood sugar levels.
  • Turnips are a highly nutritious root vegetable, and with a GI value of 62, they are considered moderately glycemic.

The goal of the glycemic index is for you to choose foods with a low glycemic value most of the time, and eat foods with an intermediate value in moderation. Foods with a GI value of 70 and above are ranked as high glycemic, while foods with a value of 55 or below are low glycemic. Pairing turnips with a high-protein food will reduce the glycemic response. So standing rib roast it is!

So as you can see potatoes aren’t the enemy just because they can be high glycemic sometimes. You just have to balance with green foods and protein and fat.  As a Holistic Medical Doctor friend of mine said to me one day:

“Keep eating your potatoes. They’re good for you. Just make sure you get some exercise.”



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