You need something to put on your sandwich or to make tuna salad. Do you reach for the mayonnaise? Not a smart move. A single tablespoon of this popular condiment has a whopping 90 calories – and who puts only a tablespoon on a sandwich? You can always save 75 calories by dipping into the low-fat mayo instead, but that isn’t your only option. Why not skip the mayonnaise entirely, and try some of these mayo-free alternatives?
It may not work for a sandwich, but Greek yogurt is perfect for making healthy versions of chicken salad, tuna salad, and coleslaw. It’s higher in protein, lower in fat and has only about a tenth of the calories of regular mayonnaise. Plus, you’ll benefit from the natural probiotics in yogurt that keep your digestive tract and immune system healthy.
Hummus is a dip and spread that originates from the Middle East. It’s made from mashed chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic and tastes delicious on sandwiches. Chickpeas are loaded with fiber, while the olive oil in hummus is a source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Plus, garlic is a heart-healthy herb that may protect against certain types of cancer. You won’t get that from mayo. Combine that with the fact it has only a quarter of the calories of mayonnaise. Use it as a dip for whole grain crackers too. For an even spicier version of avocado, use avocado-based guacamole sauce on your next sandwich.
Avocado is another source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and is an excellent source of phytosterols, plant compounds that reduce LDL- cholesterol. Plus, they increase levels of HDL, the “good” form of cholesterol that lowers your risk for heart disease. When you add avocado to a salad, the healthy fats help you absorb the antioxidant-rich carotenoids from the vegetables. But avocados aren’t just for salads. Mash one up, and use it as a sandwich spread. You won’t miss the mayo.
Low-fat cottage cheese has only 9 calories per tablespoon, and you can use it as a sandwich spread if you thicken it a bit. To do this, place it in a piece of cheesecloth, and let it drain for eight hours. Then stir it vigorously before spreading it on your sandwich. To add more flavor, add your favorite spices along with some chives. You can use cottage cheese as a mayo substitute in chicken and tuna salad too.
Explore the many mustards at gourmet grocery stores and food shops, and you’ll never long for mayo on your sandwich again. A tablespoon of mustard typically has under five calories, and its distinctive taste will jazz up even the most mundane sandwich. Try flavored mustards and variations like horseradish mustard to titillate your taste buds. Its powerful flavor will fill you up quickly. Use flavored mustard to make a unique version of chicken salad too.
Nayonnaise is an egg-free, vegan version of traditional mayonnaise. It’s made from tofu and usually has half the calories and fat of traditional mayonnaise. You can find it at most natural food markets in glass containers. It tastes very similar to mayo but lacks the extra calories.
The Bottom Line?
Next time you’re making a sandwich or tuna salad – don’t reach for the jar of mayonnaise. Try some of these healthy, lower calorie options instead – and enjoy a guilt-free sandwich.
Calorie Count at About.com.