Pasta is typically one of the first foods to go when people are looking to reduce calories and carbs in their diet. But with some knowledge of what pasta does for your body, you can easily make it part of your diet and keep it around.
• Calories and Carbs and More
Most pasta contains around 200 calories and 40g carbs per cup, so it’s not really considered a low-calorie or low-carb food. That doesn’t necessarily make it bad, but it’s important to have this knowledge and adjust accordingly to your dietary needs. Pasta also contains a good variety of nutrients like protein, B6, manganese, iron, and thiamin, among others.
• Whole-Grain Can Help
Going with whole-grain pasta over the usual white pasta can help shave off calories and carbs and also increase fiber intake. This will help increase your feelings of fullness as it takes longer to digest. It’s worth noting too that pasta is considered a low-glycemic index food, which means it won’t spike your blood sugar levels like high-glycemic foods do.
• Watch the Sauce
Most off-the-shelf pasta sauces are very high in sugar and add lots of calories (usually around 70 calories per ½ cup) to your dishes unknowingly and unnecessarily. Consider making your own using tomato sauce and adding spices. Or keep things simple and go with just roasted garlic and some olive oil and spices like red pepper flakes, basil, and oregano.
• Balance It Out
Pasta is great because it’s so versatile. Add plenty of vegetables to your pasta dish and top it with your choice of lean protein to make it a complete and balanced meal. You’ll also increase everyone’s satisfaction and fullness with these additions.
Those with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity have options as well. There are gluten-free varieties of pasta available that switch out the wheat ingredients with things like brown rice or quinoa.
Like most things you eat, moderation is key. If you’re realistic with your pasta serving sizes and what you put on top, pasta can definitely be part of your healthy diet.