Which is a Healthier Side Dish: Potato Salad or Pasta Salad?

Published May 25, 2013 by teacher dahl


Find out which is the better option in this all-American food face off to determine which is healthier: potato salad or pasta salad.

Back when my parents were young, “salad” referred to any food bound together with some mayonnaise and maybe some chopped celery (think ham salad, apple salad, carrot salad). Nowadays, salad for me is more likely to feature vegetables, and mayonnaise is not the dressing of choice. But there are two exceptions—pasta salad and potato salad. Since typical versions of these dishes follow the basic equation of starch plus mayo, you can bet that both are high in calories…but which is worse and which is the better option?


Pasta Salad

Typical pasta salad is a calorie landmine—1 cup can have as much as 450 calories! And that’s for a side dish! Not to mention a considerable amount of fat (18 grams) and saturated fat (3 grams)—that’s 27% and 19% of the recommended daily limit on a 2,000-calorie diet, respectively. Sure, it may have some vegetables in it (maybe about ¼ cup), but it mostly comes down to white pasta and loads of mayo.

So, it’s not looking so good for pasta salad as the healthier choice…let’s see about potato salad.


Potato Salad

Although classic potato salad is usually lower in calories than pasta salad (about 360 per cup), the mayonnaise keeps the saturated-fat content high (it typically has 17 grams of fat and 3 grams of saturated fat). But potato salad has one advantage over pasta salad—it’s almost all vegetable. Potatoes actually have many redeeming health qualities: they’re a good source of potassium and vitamin C and naturally deliver some fiber (especially when you keep the skin on) and protein.



The Verdict

So which one would I choose? If we’re talking about the un-healthified varieties of each, I’d choose potato salad. Why? I prefer it, and also the potato’s nutrients outshine those in white pasta.

Better yet, I would make a healthier, homemade version of either potato salad or pasta salad and bring it to the next potluck cookout I go to.

source:  eating well.com

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