We’ve heard it time and time again that “pasta isn’t healthy” or “pasta makes us fat”. Well, welcome to reality. Pasta is not really the culprit behind America’s unhealthy eating habits. In fact, pasta can most certainly be a part of healthy, well-balanced diet.
Some pastas offer a ton a nutritious health benefits. A half cup serving of pasta has less than 100 calories and provides about 3 grams of fiber. Despite what everything thinks about carbs, carbs do not automatically equal weight gain. The truth is, pasta can be a good source of complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrates break down into glucose, which is necessary for providing fuel to the brain and muscles for everyday function. What CAN result in weight gain is eating too much of any type of food. So we need to be aware of what one serving actually looks like. The recommended serving size of pasta is just about a ½ cup of cooked noodles.
Whole wheat pastas also contain many B vitamins, including thiamin, riboflavin, folic acid and niacin, as well as iron. These nutrients are naturally found in the whole kernel of the grain. About 95 percent of white pastas also contain these nutrients. Even though the section of the grain that contains these vitamins is stripped away to obtain the desired white color and fluffy texture, certain vitamins and minerals are added back in afterwards. After this process takes place, the grain is referred to as enriched.
Choosing the right type of carbohydrate can actually help with weight loss efforts by filling you up with more fiber and preventing hunger. Whole wheat pastas and other whole grain pastas, like buckwheat and soba, are some of the healthiest varieties of pasta due to their higher fiber content. There are also now pastas made from beans and legumes, like lentil and chickpea pastas, that offer both fiber and protein. These alternative gluten-free pastas are great because almost anyone can consume them with no ill effects – perfect for people with food allergies or intolerances.
Pasta dishes are not only tasty, they’re inexpensive and easy to prepare. They can also be a perfect way to highlight and complement many other healthy foods. Pair pasta with a variety of nutrient-dense foods and then you can create meals that you can feel good about. Some nutritious pasta additions include fiber-filled vegetables and beans, heart healthy fish and vegetable oils, antioxidant-rich tomato sauce, and protein-packed cheese and lean meats.
Now that you know how healthy pasta can be, let’s see what healthy pasta dish you can cook up for dinner tonight. Let us know your favorite pasta dish in the comments below!