If you are a pasta lover, fear not!
For so long, many have perceived carbs as the diet enemy. Carbohydrates are actually your body’s ideal source of fuel, and are needed for countless bodily functions.
You don’t have to completely give up on carbs, and you don’t have to nix pasta from your diet. As long as you prepare pasta the right way, it can fit into a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Here are 6 simple strategies to fit pasta into your diet.
1. Whole Wheat
There are countless different types of pasta options out there today; from the regular refined white pasta, to the brown rice or spinach pasta. If you’re not gluten free, your best bet is to go with whole wheat because it will provide more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than other pasta varieties. Whole wheat pasta also has a nutty flavor that can add more to your dish.
Did you know that cooking pasta al-dente is actually better for your health? Al-dente is when you cook the pasta for a bit less than the amount of time indicated on the box, it turns out a bit firmer than the classic soggy pasta noodles. Al-dente means to the tooth or firm to touch. Research shows that cooking pasta for longer periods of time can lead to a greater spike in blood sugar. In general, the more cooking and processing a food goes through, the higher the glycemic index is. Next time, look for a firm noodle when cooking your pasta.
3. Be Careful With Sauce
Store bought tomato sauces can often be packed with sugar, salt, and other hidden ingredients. Ideally, making your own sauce is best but this can be time consuming.Try to choose the sauces with the least amount of ingredients on the nutrition label.
4. Always Incorporate Protein
Pasta with some tomato sauce won’t ever do the job. Always be sure to incorporate some type of protein with your pasta dish. Add some diced chicken breast, turkey sausage, or another source of lean protein to help keep you more satisfied and add bulk to your meal.
5. Don’t Forget Vegetables
Bulk up a boring pasta dish with some roasted zucchini, mushrooms, or sautéed spinach! Adding some roasted or even steamed vegetables to a pasta dish can help increase the fiber and nutrients of your meal. Sneak in some additional folate, vitamin A, and vitamin C by bulking up your pasta dish with delicious veggies. Additionally, vegetables add more volume. You’ll feel like you are eating more, but with a fraction of the calories because the vegetables add so much volume at a low-calorie cost.
6. Garnish With Cheese
We all want cheesy pasta, but the cheese can add a slew of unnecessary calories and fat to your pasta dish. Instead of melting cheese into your pasta dish and letting it virtually disappear, simply garnish by sprinkling some grated fresh cheese onto your dish. You’ll save on saturated fat and calories by adding just a teaspoon of cheese on top of your meal.
Now learn: 3 quick and easy dinner solutions.