Egg Salad, Lightened Up

Egg salad can be high in fat, cholesterol and calories but with a few simple tweaks you can make light and delicious versions of this comfort food classic.
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Egg salad is a classic sandwich stuffer, but with gobs of mayo mixed in, it can be high in fat, cholesterol and calories. Try these new takes on the traditional recipe.

The Heavy Hitters

An average deli egg salad sandwich can have more than 550 calories, 30 grams of fat and 445 milligrams of cholesterol -- yikes! Where does all that come from? Well, the main ingredients: eggs and mayo. The biggest issues with these foods are cholesterol and saturated fat. Both can clog arteries and contribute to high-cholesterol levels when you've got too much in your diet.

Eggs are actually loaded with many healthy nutrients including protein, omega-3 fats and vitamin B-12. One large egg also contains 2 grams of saturated fat, about 210 milligram of cholesterol and 70 to 75 calories. Those with high cholesterol or a family history of heart disease want to stick to 300 milligrams or less of cholesterol per day. Lots of folks skip the egg yolks to reduce cholesterol. Yolks have the same amount of protein as the whites, but most of the other nutrients are in the yolk. (Read more about eggs' nutrients in our other post: "Eggs: Good or Bad?")

Mayonnaise, which is made mostly from oil and eggs, is a high-cal condiment. One tablespoon has 90 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat and 5 milligrams of cholesterol. Most egg salad recipes I come across have way more than 1 tablespoon in them.

What's An Egg Salad Lover To Do?

No worries, eggs and mayo can still be a part of your egg salad mix -- just use less and add flavor with other fresh ingredients. The easiest thing you can do is switch to small amounts of a light or reduced-fat mayo. Then, use less egg salad and pile fresh vegetables like lettuce, tomato, cucumber or radishes on your bread slices, wraps and salads.

But there’s way more you can do. I like to be creative by adding flavorful, lower calorie ingredients like Dijon mustard, fresh herbs, sweet pickle relish, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, cayenne pepper or curry powder. My favorite diner in New York City makes an egg white salad with fresh herbs, a touch of mayo and chopped spinach; they also make an egg-less version with tofu. Kristine, our compadre here, swears by her special mix of spicy and Dijon mustard (with a splash of apple cider vinegar) to replace the mayo's creaminess.

When I make egg salad at home, I use 4 eggs, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of non-fat Greek yogurt, lots of fresh chopped celery, herbs (basil, dill or parsley), salt, pepper and pinch of smoked paprika. My recipe makes enough for at least 3 sandwiches.

You can also save more calories by making an open-faced sandwich (using only one slice of bread), serving on a whole-wheat English muffin or using lettuce leaves as a wrap.

    Recipes to try:
[Photo: Breezytoo / Recipezaar]
TELL US: What's your secret ingredient for healthy, flavorful egg salad?
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