Great Debate

Sweet Potatoes vs. Mashed Potatoes




Sweet potatoes

I have never ran a marathon, but something tells me crossing the finish line into Thanksgiving break is as mentally exhausting as running 26.2 miles is physically exhausting.

After three months of writing papers, studying for exams, working late and waking early, I stumble to my parents’ doorstep begging for recuperation and wholesome food.

We’re all familiar with the Thanksgiving classics — a big ol’ turkey, cranberries, stuffing and the works. Some folks include mashed potatoes on the list, but I have to put my foot down on this one. Sweet potatoes — or yams — are a tastier and healthier classic. And let’s admit it, students need a good dose of healthy food now and then.

Just one side of sweet potatoes will give you vitamins A and C, potassium, niacin and other health boosts. While these might sound like a foreign language to some, they’re actually the perfect remedy to common college kid ailments.

Vitamin A is known to help with eyesight, so it’s perfect for the set of eyes that have been staring at a computer screen for eight hours a day and squinting at the bright light of our smartphones at night.

Try as we might, it’s almost impossible to avoid catching a cold this time of year. Lucky for us, vitamin C has our back. While it’s not a cure for the common cold, WebMD says the vitamin helps keep the immune system in ship shape.

Let’s not forget potassium — bananas aren’t the mineral’s only claim to fame. WebMD says potassium is great for brain function, so it could help clean up the havock midterms have wreaked on our minds.

And then there’s niacin, or vitamin B3. It’s actually a form of cholesterol, but don’t worry — it’s the good kind. Niacin helps clear up all that bad cholesterol students eat on a low budget. I don’t look back on that week I ate nothing but mac n’ cheese fondly — 0/10, would not recommend — but I feel slightly better knowing something exists to help me clear up my bloodstream.

Health benefits aside, sweet potatoes are just plain tastier than mashed potatoes. Most people enjoy mixing mashed potatoes with other foods on their plate. You don’t even need those extra flavor boosts with sweet potatoes; they’re perfectly delicious on their own.

So branch out this Thanksgiving and try some sweet potatoes — your tastebuds and health will thank you.

— Lauren French, News Editor


Mashed potatoes

Thanksgiving is all about celebrating the things we’re thankful for while surrounded by friends, family and comfort food.

Whether it’s your mom’s homemade cranberry sauce, or a fresh baked pumpkin pie, the table is usually surrounded by everyone’s favorites. Which is why I don’t think sweet potatoes, candied yams (call them what you will) have a place on my Thanksgiving plate.

They’re orange first of all. If that doesn’t weird you out a little, it should.

So they’re healthier than the traditional, buttery, starch packed mashed potatoes. Who cares? Once you top them with a thick layer of melted marshmallows you can throw that claim right out the window.

Frankly, if there’s one day out of the year when it’s okay not to eat healthy, Thanksgiving is definitely it.

They’re also sickly sweet with a texture that’s comparable to those little jars of baby food we ate when we didn’t yet know the luxury of actual food.

No thanks.

Also, without classic mashed white potatoes, we miss out on another Thanksgiving staple- gravy.

Brown, cream or turkey flavored, I don’t discriminate against gravy but rather embrace all kinds. A table without a boat of gravy to drown your potatoes and turkey in is incomplete.

My love for mashed potatoes is unlike any other. One Thanksgiving Day in particular when I had already indulged in two separate feasts and was barely able to button my pants, I was dared to eat the giant bowl of leftover mashed potatoes for $20.

Even though I failed to keep my aunt’s delicious mashed potatoes down (oops), I still pile them high on my plate to this day.

— Hailey Novak Op/Ed Editor