Sliced, diced, baked, fried and mashed—you name it and the potato has done it. The most common recipe made from the potato is mashed potatoes. The creamy texture and fluffy consistency of this dish make these spuds a desirable accompaniment for many meals.
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Nutritional facts on mashed potatoes vary due to the type of potato, milk and butter used in preparation. According to "Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Diabetes," a serving size of mashed potatoes is 1/2 cup, which can range from 100 to 200 calories per serving. A recipe for homemade mashed potatoes from The Daily Plate using butter and milk accounts for 171 calories for 3/4 cup. It contains 7g of total fat from the butter and milk, 303mg of cholesterol and 24g of carbohydrate. Potatoes contain 27mg of vitamin C which is nearly 50 percent of your daily value. Potatoes are also a good source of potassium, according to the Idaho Potato Commission.
All About Potatoes lists the different types of potatoes as yellow potatoes, red potatoes, russet potatoes, white potatoes and fingerling potatoes. Yellow potatoes can be used for any type of recipe and are considered "all-purpose" potatoes. Russett potatoes are high in starch and good for boiling and mashing. They contain 168 calories per medium potato. White potatoes are the lowest in starch and are good for mashing as well. White potatoes are also lowest in calories containing 149 calories per medium potato. All potatoes contain starch which is considered a carbohydrate and the main contributing factor to calories in potatoes.
A basic mashed potato recipe serving four people will require three large potatoes peeled, cubed and boiled until soft. The water is drained and the potatoes are placed in a medium bowl to which 1/4 cup of 1 percent milk and a tablespoon of butter are added. The mixture is then beaten until fluffy and seasoned with salt and pepper and other spices as desired.
Depending on preparation, some mashed potatoes contain more calories than others. For example, using sour cream in mashed potatoes can add an additional 50 calories per 2 tablespoons. Butter is the calorie culprit in mashed potatoes, adding 100 calories per tablespoon. Milk is usually used sparingly to make mashed potatoes more creamy. One-fourth cup of 1 percent milk contributes 20 calories to a mashed potato recipe. Salt is added to taste but does not contribute to calories.
To make lower calorie mashed potatoes, switch to low-fat additions such skim milk and butter substitutes. For flavor, instead of adding cheese try adding chopped green onions or garlic. A ranch dressing mix packet adds a different flavor to the potatoes without adding extra calories. Most importantly, pay attention to your serving size. This will let you enjoy mashed potatoes while limiting your calories.