Pasta Salad, Lightened Up

by in Healthy Recipes, Healthy Tips, June 13, 2011
Corn and Pasta Salad With Homemade Ranch Dressing
Corn and Pasta Salad With Homemade Ranch Dressing

Pasta salad is swimming in hidden calories that’ll have you hiding from bathing suit season. Keep your svelte summer shape with these tips to lighten up this summer classic.  Plus, try our collection of Healthy Eats-approved recipes.

Traditional Pasta Salad
Tons of pasta, mayo, oil and other high-fat ingredients can sabotage a perfectly healthy pasta salad — traditional recipes contain around 310 calories and 22 grams of fat per 1/2 cup serving. Plus, most folks opt for more than 1/2 cup.  To lighten it up, watch out for these common pitfalls.

The Pasta
Yes, pasta can fit into a healthy diet!  Knowing how to plan pasta portions is half the battle.  Traditional pasta salads usually call for around 2 cups of cooked pasta per person; that’s 400 calories without dressing or added ingredients. Aim for 3/4 to 1 cup of cooked pasta per serving instead.

Whole grains pastas contain more filling fiber and can make your salad more nutritious. Check out how your favorite whole grain pastas rated in our taste test.

The Veggies
Bulk up your pasta salad with seasonal veggies. They’re low in calories (about 25 calories per 1/2 cup) and loaded with vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients, so no need to skimp here!  Add tomatoes, broccoli, scallions, asparagus, bell peppers, summer squash or corn — the options are endless.

The Dressing
Here’s another potential calorie trap. Mayonnaise and oil can rack up calories instantaneously. Oil contains 120 calories and 14 grams fat per tablespoon and mayonnaise contains 57 calories and 5 grams fat for 1 tablespoon.  That may not sound like a lot, but remember most folks use an average of 1/2 cup of either to their pasta salad, which adds up to 906 calories from oil or 458 calories from mayonnaise! Instead, aim for 1 tablespoon of oil or 2 tablespoons of low-fat mayo or salad dressing per person, which will cut down the calories significantly.

The Extras
Cheese or beans are yummy additions to spike up flavor, but are also calorie-heavy. Aim for about 1 tablespoon of beans and 1/2 ounce of cubed cheese per serving.

It’s also important to remember that some folks have nut allergies or dairy intolerances, so a simple salad may be more suitable for a larger crowd.

Recipes to Try:

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »

What’s your secret to lighter pasta salad? Tell us in the comments below.

More posts from .

Similar Posts

Can Butter Be Part of a Healthy Diet? (Seriously, Now.)

The old butter verses margarine controversy is back in the spotlight. With many folks favoring wholesome, natural foods, margarine has now taken a backseat to butter. But can this full fat delight be part of a healthy diet?

Comments (1,329)

  1. black hat says:

    Title…

    [...]please take a look at the web pages we adhere to, such as this one particular, because it represents our picks in the web[...]…

  2. demolari says:

    demolari…

    [...]Here is an excellent Blog You may Locate Interesting that we Encourage You[...]…

  3. cell phones says:

    Title…

    [...]Here are a number of the sites we advise for our visitors[...]…

  4. will like it and will thus be…

    compelled to pass it along.the addition of social media marketing makes writing content a bit more challenging. you have to write content that the audience will pick up, but since social media activity can also help improve your page rankings, the…

  5. Title…

    [...]Here is a great Blog You might Find Fascinating that we Encourage You[...]…

  6. Title…

    [...]Every once inside a while we pick blogs that we read. Listed beneath are the latest web pages that we opt for [...]…

  7. Title…

    [...]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nevertheless seriously really worth taking a look, whoa did one find out about Mid East has got far more problerms at the same time [...]…

  8. haven’t read “the help,” i encourage you…

    to do so (word-of-mouth promotion). part of why i recommend it to authors is because one of the main characters is herself writing a book and she continually gets advice from an editor in a major publishing house about how to…

  9. Start Up Business…

    [...]check beneath, are some totally unrelated web-sites to ours, even so, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[...]…

  10. Title…

    [...]very couple of websites that transpire to become detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly very well worth checking out[...]…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>