JoAnna Lund’s Healthy Macaroni Salad

Growing up, my sister Lindy and I never had macaroni salad–guess who didn’t like it? And of course if Mother didn’t like something…well, you either know the rest of the story, or you can read all about it here.

Why would anyone ruin pasta by putting it in a salad?

Mother was heard to say on more than one occasion. Nevertheless, or perhaps in spite of this deprivation during our upbringing, my sister and I both enjoy pasta salad now and I wanted to share a healthy recipe with you.

Cover of "Healthy Exchanges Cookbook"

Cover of Healthy Exchanges Cookbook

This recipe was inspired by some ideas I got from one of my favorite cookbook authors, and a true inspiration for my dieting, JoAnna Lund. She wrote many wonderful cookbooks, and hers is an amazing and inspiring story.

Born in Lost Nation, Iowa, she graduated from the University of Western Illinois. In 1990, her son James, daughter Becky, and her son-in-law Mat, were all called into active duty during Operation Desert Storm. Plus, her son Tommy was in the U.S. Army Reserves. She reacted to the stress of the situation by overeating and by her mid-40s weighed 300 pounds. She began to think about her own mortality—and how her weight problem had created a life-threatening situation. She realized that diets had never helped her, and that if she reclaimed her health she could reclaim her life. In order to do so, she devised a method of “exchanges” to enable herself to eat all the food she loved while exchanging the fats and sugars with healthier choices. As friends asked for more and more of her recipes, she created her first cookbook, The Healthy Exchanges Cookbook.

It has since sold hundreds of thousands of copies. The cookbook proved to be only the beginning of Lund’s career. The former self-proclaimed “diet queen” from DeWitt, Iowa, authored several books and the founder of Healthy Exchanges, Inc., a company that publishes a monthly newsletter with a subscriber base of 15,000, motivational booklets and inspirational audio and video tapes.

After starting her business, Lund became a nationally known spokeswoman for healthier eating. She was elected to represent Iowa at President Clinton’s White House Council on Small Business in 1995. During that same year, the Governor of Iowa appointed her to serve on the Iowa Rural Health & Primary Care Commission. She hosted a weekly radio show on WOC Radio in DeWitt and was featured in National publications such as The New York Times, People and Forbes. She has been interviewed on hundreds of regional television and radio shows, and is one of the top-selling cookbook authors on the television shopping channel, QVC. During one hour-long appearance on QVC, she sold almost 200,000 books. In January 1997, she launched her own cooking show on PBS-TV, JoAnna Lund’s HELP Yourself.

I hope you enjoy this recipe for a healthy – and delicious – Macaroni Salad.


  • 3 cups cold elbow macaroni
  • 1/2  cup minature marshmallows
  • 2 cups crushed pineapple (drained and 1/2 cup liquid reserved)
  • 1 (4 oz) pkg Jello Sugar Free vanilla cook and serve pudding
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup Cool Whip Free


  1. Combine macaroni, marshmallows, and pineapple in a large bowl and refrigerate.
  2. In a saucepan, combine dry pudding, juice, and water.
  3. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and starts to boil.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool for five minutes.
  5. Pour over macaroni mixture and cool at least two hours.
  6. Just before serving, add the Cool Whip Free.

Nutritional Information:

Serves: 8

Calories: 156

Fat: 0

Carbs: 36

Fiber: 1

Protein: 3

Leave a Reply