As we head into the New Year, many of us are keeping New Year’s resolutions to be fit, lose those pounds, and be healthier overall. But who wants to give up pasta, the staple of many American’s meals? Here are some ways that you can commit to a low-calorie, low-carb diet without giving up everyone’s favorite starch.
Try adding veggies to your pasta meals! You can quickly add tomato sauce, broccoli, spinach, and even brussels sprouts to all different types of pasta dishes! Spinach incorporated into lasagna makes a great way to get all the vitamins and minerals in Spinach without the soggy consistency. Broccoli goes great with spaghetti, penne, bowties, and all kinds of other pasta bases! You can boil it and add it in at the end of the pasta dish, or sauté it in some extra virgin olive oil and add it to the recipe. Brussels sprouts, a dish that you often serve alone, are delicious when sautéed and added to a spaghetti base with some broccoli and a touch of olive oil! The addition of a side salad with a portioned main pasta dish is a more traditional favorite if you want to keep your veggies and pasta separated. Just go easy on the salad dressing!
Adding chicken, shrimp, or meatballs to your pasta dish is another way to get some more nutrients in your regular dose of pasta. Shrimp scampi, chicken parmesan (sans parmesan, if you’re watching your fat intake) and spaghetti and meatballs with a tomato sauce are all ways to make sure your pasta is as well-rounded as you are. Simply adding some grilled chicken strips or a meat and tomato sauce are all awesome, easy ways to turn a heavy dose of carbs into a full meal. You can even substitute turkey for beef if you want to make the meal that much healthier.
Try Plant-Based Substitutes
If you crave the starchy pasta but aren’t excited about the carbs, try a plant-based alternative. You can scrape spaghetti squash out of the squash and boil it like you would pasta for a semi-realistic substitute! Thinly slicing and then cooking zucchini works the same way. If you want a healthier grain alternative to the wheat-based, carbohydrate-laden pasta noodle, try quinoa, soba, or brown rice in the place of pasta. All have similar tastes but are healthier than your Italian favorite. Shirataki noodles, made from a Japanese yam, are another great way to sate your pasta cravings while curbing your carbohydrate intake.
Meal Prepping Pasta
Pasta is great for meal prepping! If you want to pack your healthy lunches to work or school, you can start with a pasta base, be it traditional pasta or whole wheat pasta. Then, and add veggies, sauces, and proteins to pack a meal that’ll keep you full for the whole day!
Pasta makes an excellent base for a healthy meal. Whether you add veggies, protein, or ditch wheat-based pasta in favor of a plant-based alternative, pasta makes for a great cheat meal. Do you have a favorite way to make your pasta healthier, or have a tip that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!