Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Switching to Whole Wheat Pasta is Only the Half of It...How to Balance Pasta in Your Healthy Lifestyle

Pasta is one of the things in life that I really enjoy. Being in Italy for our honeymoon made me appreciate pasta even more because it's fresher there. And velvety, earthy red wine with a slightly spicy red sauce pasta is a symbiotic marriage of flavors that I could not, will not give up! If you throw in a bit of fresh basil and shredded parmesan cheese, that's called heaven in our house! Sometimes, I make my own fresh pasta with my stand mixer roller attachment. But most times that we want to indulge, I turn to whole wheat pasta.

Comparing whole wheat pasta to white flour, you will boost the fiber and protein. By eating higher fiber, your body eat less and the meal will stay with you longer. Whole grains make better choices because they burn slower in your body and stick with you longer. Have you noticed that you can always eat more bread, pasta, pancakes or white flour anything??

Pay attention to your body to see how you react to different types the food that you eat. With white flour, I get a blood sugar spike, then crash. I know I can eat too much on white flour foods because it doesn't fill me up and I eat too much.

Tips on balancing pasta in your healthy lifestyle:

  • Keep portion sizes in check. Calorie counts are about the same (210 calories) in a typical serving size 2oz or 1 cup cooked pasta.
  • Eat pasta for dinner when you had salad for lunch. It's all about balance. If you had a bagel for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner, that's a lot of carbohydrates! Salad for lunch is a good idea to keep your energy high and avoid the sleepy afternoon problem. Check out one of my favorite salad recipes.
  • Go crazy on the veggies. I boost the nutritional content by using more vegetables in the pasta. You can try, frozen spinach, peas, peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, swiss chard, tomatoes, for example. Check out this pasta that I made and posted the recipe for last week. It's loaded with healthy veggies and 2 oz of pasta.

  • At a restaurant, ask the server to add extra veggies to your pasta meal. At my favorite Thai restaurant, they have an option for the pad see ewe with "extra veggies," which I always order because it's more nutritious. Or you could order an extra side of the steamed vegetables. Other options...you could also request half the meal brought out in a to-go box, split the meal with a friend, or request a lunch/appetizer portion.
Life is about balance so just enjoy the pasta!

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