5 Easy Ways to Make Healthier Pasta

While most people love pasta and all the different sauces and varieties it comes in, it tends not to be the healthiest option. Fortunately, you don’t have to give up pasta when you’re looking to lose weight or get healthier — try these five tips for making your noodles more nutritious.

1. Go Whole Grain
Refined grains, like white pasta, have much less fiber and protein than their whole-grain counterparts, like noodles made from whole wheat, quinoa, or brown rice. From these added nutrients, you’ll feel much fuller from consuming less of the pasta — win-win!

2. Up Your Veggie Game
There’s hardly any pasta dish that couldn’t benefit from the addition of some vegetables. Veggies add vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which significantly boost your pasta’s nutritional quality. Try adding diced bell pepper and carrots to spaghetti, or blend basil and spinach into a pesto sauce for penne pasta.

3. Go Half and Half With Zoodles
A recently trendy way to eat pasta, spiralized vegetables can make your noodles healthier without sacrificing flavor. Hand-held spiralizers are inexpensive to purchase, and you can make simple spirals of zucchini (a.k.a. “zoodles”), to replace half of the pasta in your meal, rather than completely swapping it out.

4. Skip the Salt
Rather than salting your pasta after it’s cooked and plated, try salting the water while it’s cooking instead. Not only will this bring out the flavor of the pasta more, but it will also reduce the overall sodium of your meal, which can cause bloating when consumed in excess.

5. Watch the Portions
When you’re craving pasta, you don’t need to nix the noodles altogether — just watch your portion size to ensure you’re not over-consuming it. It’s easy to overdo it when it comes to pasta, so try to stick to the recommended 2-ounce serving size (hint: this is about one cup of cooked pasta).

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