Pasta can provide a healthy meal rich in fiber and vitamins. Follow these steps to make healthier choices for your next pasta dinner.
Step 1: Choose whole grain pasta Buy whole grain or blend pasta. Pastas made from a mixture of whole grain and white flour have a taste and texture similar to traditional pasta but provide much better nutrition.
TIP: Try several different whole grain and blend pastas to see which taste best and provide sufficient fiber and vitamins.
Step 2: Choose a healthy sauce Avoid pasta sauces heavy with cream, cheese, or fatty meats. Choose a light, flavorful tomato sauce instead, or add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil with sun-dried tomatoes and herbs.
TIP: Check the nutrition facts on bottled pasta sauce to determine the fat content. Even some meatless tomato sauces contain a lot of fat from oil.
Step 3: Add veggies Add vitamins and fiber to your sauce with healthy vegetables. Try roasted eggplant, peppers, or zucchini, or mix in ripe olives and mushrooms.
Step 4: Use low-fat meats Substitute ground turkey or chicken for beef in meat sauces and meatballs, and try Italian sausage made from turkey instead of the traditional pork or veal.
Step 5: Spice it up Reduce the need for salt in your sauce by adding other herbs and spices. Make a fiery sauce with red pepper flakes, or try adding aromatic sweet basil.
TIP: Rinsing cooked pasta before serving reduces the vitamin content.
Step 6: Switch to reduced-fat cheese Use reduced-fat ricotta and mozzarella in lasagna and ravioli. Try low-fat parmesan cheese on spaghetti, and limit yourself to a few sprinkles instead of a mound.
Step 7: Eat less Enjoy pasta in moderation. The carbohydrates in pasta provide energy, but excessive portions provide too many calories and can raise blood sugar.
FACT: Did you know? Standard pasta contains approximately 41 grams of carbohydrates per serving, compared with 31 grams in low-carb pasta.