FoodTips: Which is healthier, potato salad or macaroni salad?

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Q: I plan to make a salad for our Labor Day picnic. Which is healthier, potato salad or macaroni salad?

A: Let's look at the pros and cons of both.

Potato Salad


Potatoes are loaded with nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C and potassium. They also are free of fat and cholesterol. No matter which recipe you choose, potatoes are often accompanied by good-for-you veggies and herbs, including celery, onions, carrots, parsley, dill and basil.


The addition of mayonnaise, oily dressings and sometimes bacon will fatten up potato salad. You're looking at over 420 calories and 30 grams of fat per cup.

Healthy Potato Salad Tips:

-- Cut the mayo in half and replace it with nonfat Greek yogurt.

-- Lose the mayo altogether and use small portions of vinaigrette dressing.

-- Make your favorite recipe with sweet potatoes instead.

Macaroni Salad


Pasta is a blank canvas for any flavors you like and there's plenty of room for veggies and herbs.


Once again, dressings are to blame; it's easy for a cup of macaroni salad to top 600 calories and 40 grams of fat. Plus, classic macaroni salad dressings are often high in added sugars. One cup of cooked pasta has 200 calories all by itself.

Healthy Pasta Salad Tips:

-- Use whole-grain pasta to boost the fiber.

-- As with potato salad, you can lighten up the dressings with low-fat yogurt or vinaigrette.

-- The more veggies, the better.

Courtesy Dana Angelo White on foodnetwork.com