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A TwisT on The holidAy MAsh by Alisha Sandage, Registered Dietitian It’s almost turkey time! Bring on that tender bird, ham, potatoes, desserts, ciders; I want it all! But the question is, as a dietitian, where can I sneak in a healthy alternative that will leave my crazy family both surprised and satisfied? I suppose they won’t be surprised anymore, this is a bit of a spoiler alert. Let’s go with mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes are a holiday staple and any meal gathering would feel incomplete without them. So instead of your typical regular, starchy mashed potatoes, we’re going to talk about a recipe that uses a combination of sweet potatoes and cauliflower. But before we get to that, let’s answer the age-old question that I’ve been asked time and time again. What is the actual difference between a regular potato and a sweet potato? Well first, a regular potato (using a russet potato as an example) has almost double the starch and protein of a sweet potato and clocks in at a few dozen more calories per serving. A sweet potato on the other hand, is slightly higher in fiber and has seven times the naturally occurring sugar as a regular potato, hence the name sweet potato. When it comes to vitamins and minerals, a regular potato and a sweet potato are practically identical except for one in particular, Vitamin A. Vitamin A is measured in international units (IU), similar in concept to grams and milligrams. A regular potato is found to have only three IU per 1/3 cup, while the same amount of sweet potato has a whopping 19,200 IU of Vitamin A. By the way, Vitamin A is most notable for healthy vision, amongst many other health benefits! I hope that answers all of your deepest potato questions! Back to the sweet potato and cauliflower mash. Cauliflower has recently become a hit when blending with other foods, as it usually takes on any flavor you’re mixing it with in addition to adding lots of nutrition while minimizing calories. If you are too afraid to debut this recipe at your family Thanksgiving, then try it out for dinner sometime and see what you think. But trust me when I say, one of my favorite things to do is sit back and secretly laugh as everyone gobbles down dishes I bring. Little do they know that I am tricking them into eating delicious food that’s actually really, really good for them! Suckers. Sweet Cauli Mash Recipe (serves 4 - 6) (recipe credit: http://thefitfork.com) 2 lbs sweet potatoes 1 lb cauliflower florets, fresh or frozen 3 Tbs milk 1/4 cup PLAIN Greek yogurt 1/2 tsp garlic powder Fresh parsley (or hemp hearts!) for garnish, optional Directions 1. Wash, peel, and cut sweet potatoes into 1.5 inch pieces 2. Fill a large pot with 1 inch of water, boil, and using a steam basket, steam the sweet potato chunks and cauliflower for 10 - 12 minutes (see below if you don’t have a steam basket) 3. Dump the steamed veggies in a large bowl and combine the remaining ingredients. Now mash your little heart out! If it is too thick, add about 1 tablespoon of additional milk at a time until you reach a desirable consistency. When ready, feel free to add your go-to sweet potato toppings, but a little cinnamon and a touch of butter will go a long way! I know what some of you are thinking. “Alisha, I don’t have a steam basket! What do I do now?” Easy, use the microwave. Place your veggie pieces in a microwave-safe dish and fill the bottom of your dish with a 1/3rd cup of water. Cover the dish TIGHTLY with plastic wrap and microwave for 4-5 minutes on high. Use fork and test to make sure the potatoes are tender. If not, recover and microwave in one minute increments until you can easily pierce the potato chunks with a fork! Now be ambitious and move on back to step 3! This Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.