Potato Salad, Lightened Up

I’m just starting to see early varieties of potatoes at the farmers market and potato salad recipes are calling out to me! This picnic and barbecue fave is known to be heavy on the fat and calories, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are my favorite ways to lighten up this summertime classic.

I'm starting to see some of the early varieties of potatoes at the farmers' market, and potato salad recipes are calling out to me! This picnic and barbecue fave is often heavy on the fat and calories (especially when it has gobs of mayo!), but it doesn’t have to be. Here are my favorite ways -- plus some recipes -- to lighten up this summertime classic.

Nutrition Facts

If you're looking for a quick fix, pre-made potato salads are often offered at your supermarket's deli counter, but not so fast! Those versions can have more than 300 calories and 20 grams of fat per serving (and we'd bet most folks don't stick to a small serving). Homemade recipes, meanwhile, often call for at least one cup of mayonnaise -- that’s 920 calories and 80 grams of fat right there! It's not the potatoes that make that tally go up; though they are a starchy vegetable, a half cup of cooked potato has 65 calories and no fat. Of course, starchy veggies can cause a rapid spike in your blood sugar, but when they’re combined with other fiber-rich foods, blood sugar levels stay more stable and you stay more satisfied.

The Lighter Side of Potato Salad

When making salad, take advantage of sturdy potatoes. They can stand up to lots of extra veggies like green beans, tomatoes, celery, peas, carrots, bell pepper and red onion. The more veggies you add, the heartier your salad and more full of nutrients. Chopped pickles and olives also add a nice bite of vinegar. Also, try keeping the skin on the potatoes -- they contain tons of nutrients like hunger-fighting fiber.

For a more substantial meal, you might consider adding a lean protein like crabmeat, tuna or beans -- this will make for a hearty salad with less calories.

You can also mix it up with your potato choices. Sweet potatoes are just as delicious in potato salad and come with the added bonus of beta-carotene. Even though sweet potatoes are higher in natural sugars than white potatoes, they contain more soluble fiber so they increase blood sugar less.

As for the dressings, mayo is the old standby, but who needs it? Swap out some or all for a flavorful vinaigrette, pesto sauce, sundried tomatoes, Dijon mustard or lots of fresh herbs. When I’m in the mood for a traditional creamy texture, I find a combo of mayonnaise and low-fat yogurt will give me all the flavor with much less fat. If you can't go without the mayo, here's a good rule of thumb: stick to no more than 1 tablespoon per serving.

    Recipes to try:

Next Up

Potato Soup, Lightened Up

Creamy potato soup can have anywhere from 300 to 500 calories and up to 35 grams of fat per serving! Our lightened-up versions taste even better than the cream-laden recipes, and since the main ingredients are potatoes, it won’t bust your budget.

Chicken Salad, Lightened Up

Though chicken is a lean protein, chicken salad isn't always a healthy meal. Find out common pitfalls and how to add special flavors that everyone will love.

Tuna Salad, Lightened Up

Tuna is one of my go-to foods at parties or a friend’s luncheon but some folks drench their tuna in mayonnaise. Besides upping the calories, a boatload of mayonnaise drowns out the delicious tuna flavor. Next time you plan on making tuna salad, try some of these exciting ways to flavor and lighten it up.

Pasta Salad, Lightened Up

Traditional pasta salad is swimming with hidden calories that’ll have you hiding from bathing suit season. Find out how to lighten up this summer classic and still keep your svelte shape.

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.

Nachos, Lightened Up

Every so often I get a big time craving for spicy, cheesy and crunchy nachos. But when most restaurant orders top 1500 calories and 100 grams of fat, I’d much rather make them myself. Use these tips to indulge wisely.

Brownies, Lightened Up

I’m a brownie kind of girl—my friends and family can vouch for me. There are in fact ways to lighten up this delectable dessert. What’s the secret? Read on to find out.

Quiche, Lightened Up

What would a brunch spread be without quiche? While most consider quiche a "light" choice, you might be surprised at the calorie count. But never fear, brunch lovers -- there are many ways to reduce the calories and fat in this Mother's Day staple.

Tiramisu, Lightened Up

In honor of Italian week, we’re lightening up this all-time favorite dessert. Find out how you can enjoy this delectable classic without all the guilt.

Pancakes, Lightened Up

Butter, syrup and processed flour don't do much to make pancakes healthy, but you can make your own -- with a few simple swaps -- and enjoy a lighter breakfast.

Related Pages