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How do these 10 Thanksgiving staples compare on nutritional value?

Nov. 16, 2010, 7:22 a.m.
package of mashed potatoes and bowl of homemade mashed potatoes

Photo: JupiterImages (mashed potatoes)

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Mashed potatoes

Idahoan Original Mashed Potatoes vs. fresh mashed potatoes: It would be reasonable to assume that the potatoes that you peeled and cooked on the stovetop would earn a much higher NuVal score than instant mashed potatoes, but surprisingly, the scores aren’t too far apart.

Red potatoes, a common potato used to make mashed potatoes, receive a NuVal score of 93. Idahoan Original Mashed Potatoes score a 90. Why are the two so close nutritionally?

Idahoan Original Mashed Potatoes are nothing more than dehydrated potatoes with emulsifier (mono and diglycerides) and preservative (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bisulfite, citric acid, mixed tocopherols). While you aren’t going to find any of those emulsifiers or preservatives in fresh potatoes, they don’t seem to take much away from the nutrition of the potatoes, at least according to NuVal.

The fresh mashed potatoes are a bit higher in nutrition. Most people would agree they taste 100 percent better, too. However, if you opt for instant, Idahoan Original Mashed Potatoes are fairly nutritionally sound — just get the original, not the instant version with butter or cheese flavors.