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Make a Healthier Pasta Salad

June 23rd, 2009

Cold pasta salads are synonymous with summer, but so are the excessive amounts of fat and calories that come with the creamy varieties. Not so good if you are trying to lose weight. Before you pick up a premade pasta salad at the grocery store for your next family BBQ, ask yourself if you'd be making the same purchase if the salad was just for yourself.

Even though my personal grocery list would never feature a store bought pasta salad, I usually wouldn't hesitate to grab one for a potluck or take a few scoops at a friendly gathering. Funny thing is I don't even like the overly saucy salads that much...has anyone else noticed the weird aftertaste? Like many unhealthy things they are just convenient. But homemade pasta salad can actually be pretty convenient as well, and a whole lot healthier.

The first rule for making a nutritious pasta salad is cutting down on the mayonnaise dressing, or even better skipping it altogether. Opt for your favorite oil and vinegar based dressing, such as Italian or herb. Then simply chop up any veggies you have on hand. Celery, green, red and yellow peppers, onion, carrot, cucumber, tomato - the combinations are endless. Add in some olives and feta for a Greek version. Canned tuna is a great way to add healthy protein. And I shouldn't have to say it but whole wheat pasta is a must. Never pass up an opportunity to increase your fiber intake.

Directions: Cook the pasta el dente so your salad isn't soggy and mix it all together. No really, that's all you have to do.

As with most foods, no matter how much you alter pasta salad it still won't be lacking in the calories department. So control your portions. Take a small scoop of a few and load the rest of your plate with veggies and some lean protein. And because we all like variety, let us know how you make your pasta salad.

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