Have you been avoiding pasta because it’s all carbs and delicious, yet sometimes heavy, sauces? You don’t have to remove it from your menu completely. You can just make sure that you make healthy pasta dishes for you and your loved ones.
Healthy pasta doesn’t have to be some bland affair. If you make the right choices, you’ll never have to feel guilty for having a nice plate of this wonderful dish. We know that carbs aren’t exactly popular right now – even though that might change in the near future – but there are plenty of nutritious and at the same time delicious choices you can make to keep pasta on the menu.
All you need to do for that to happen is to be more aware of what you’re using when making the pasta. Some ingredients will be in, others will be completely out. But you can make a perfectly satisfying and mouthwatering dish, no problem. And you don’t have to compromise too heavily, either.
The key here is to make sure that there aren’t that many processed ingredients in your dish and also that the calorie intakes stay at an acceptable level.
Try this chorizo and cherry tomato penne dish at home and you won't regret it.
5 tips to make healthy pasta at home
1. Choose better pasta
You know what’s healthier than regular pasta? Whole wheat pasta. As you probably already know, white flour isn’t great for you and its nutritional value is nothing to write home about. So why not go for the upgrade? Pasta made out of whole wheat retains so many more vitamins and minerals, not to mention dietary fiber.
2. Don’t overdo it on the serving
Food science has spoken: if you control your portions properly, then your diet is healthier from the start. We always tend to eat much more than we actually need to. But there are ways to get around that. Find out more about them here. But the gist of it is: use smaller plates, ones that create a colorful contrast to your meal. And keep your large bowl of the finished product away from your dinner table. If you keep it in plain sight, you might go for seconds, even if you’re already full.
So, what’s the ideal serving? About one cup of cooked pasta, which translates to about 60 grams.
3. Use lots of veggies and protein
Since you’re controlling your serving, according to the previous tip, then make sure you get plenty of nutrition from the pasta toppings as well. So, use a lot of healthy vegetables to help you feel full. Don’t hesitate to go for things like zucchini or broccoli, along with other items you usually use.
And of course, don’t forget about the meat. Don’t use it every single time you make pasta, but protein will keep your blood sugar levels in check and also make you feel satisfied. Just choose the meat by one criterion: make it lean or with as little fat as possible.
You know what else helps? Adding some spiciness to the mix. There are plenty of reasons why spiciness is actually healthy for you. One of the best? It accelerates your metabolism!
4. Avoid cream-based sauces
As much as possible of course, because I’m never going to completely give up on my spaghetti Carbonara. But usually, red sauces are much healthier than the cream-based ones. That’s because the latter ones have a much higher fat content (because of the cream and the butter) than the tomato-based ones. Plus, tomatoes are more nutritious than cream. That’s a fact.
5. Cook the pasta al dente
It’s not 100 percent verified, but some researchers say that if you want to make healthy pasta you should cook it al dente. The reason? The starches in it don’t break down as much as they do in cooked all the way pasta. That means that al dente pasta is going to be easier to digest! So, if you don’t completely loathe feeling your pasta a bit firm when you bite into it, this is a simple and healthy change you can believe in! This is one more reason to be careful and not overcook your pasta anyway!