Healthy eats

5 tips for a healthier potato salad

May 31, 2012 at 9:36 AM ET

Try swapping in sweet potatoes for a healthy twist on potato salad.
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Try swapping in sweet potatoes for a healthy twist on potato salad.

Potato salad, an essential mainstay of backyard barbecues, pool parties, and picnics, marks the height of spring and the start of summer. And, a party without potato salad and all the fixings just wouldn't seem like a real party. But with all the traditional toppings such as mayo, chopped eggs, and even bacon, it can be a caloric and fat overload that isn't exactly waist-friendly.

So we've teamed up with Laura Cipullo, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, to put together some tips that will help make the next potato salad you make a little lighter while still retaining all the flavor.

Use red or sweet potatoes

Red potatoes have a lower glycemic index than other types of potatoes, meaning they won't spike blood sugar as quickly as others. Yukon Gold or other waxy potatoes are great as well, and sweet potatoes are even better since they contain more fiber, iron, magnesium, vitamin A, and beta carotene by weight than their regular counterparts. Try this recipe.

Keep the skins on

Avoid peeling the potatoes since the skin contains fiber that will slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream.

Add another vegetable

Adding another vegetable, such as broccoli or celery, can add more fiber and help balance out the natural sugar found in the potatoes. More fiber can help you feel satiated with fewer servings. Also, try replacing some of the cooked potatoes with cooked cauliflower (you can cook them together). After draining, return them both to the pot and cook for a few minutes over medium heat to dry them out a bit. Cauliflower contains a lot of moisture, but this will help prevent watery dressing.

Use olive oil and lemon juice

Instead of a heavy mayonnaise, try using a combination of olive oil together with lemon juice, vinegar (balsamic, red-wine, white-wine, or sherry all work very nicely), and perhaps some mustard (try whole-grain or Dijon) to make a flavorful dressing without mayonnaise.

Try Greek yogurt

A combination of Greek yogurt and fat-free sour cream is a tasty, healthy alternative to mayonnaise. Greek yogurt is preferable to regular yogurt because it contains more protein and therefore helps to slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream.

Get more potato salad tips here.

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