So, you're a pasta fiend. You'd never make it on the Atkins diet, but there are certainly other ways to lighten up and make your meals more healthy. Believe it or not, given the right ingredients, pasta can be healthy, too. It's all about abandoning the heavy cheeses and high sodium sauces in favor of healthier alternatives. Read on to learn how to make healthy pasta.
Things You'll Need
- Whole wheat or whole wheat blend pasta
- Healthy sauce of choice
- Lean meats such as chicken or reduced fat ground turkey
- Fresh vegetables
- Fresh spices
Consider the type of pasta you are serving. Is it the typical white pasta that's usually about a buck a box? Get rid of it! To keep it healthy, you'll need to keep it whole wheat or fresh all the way. Most major supermarket chains now offer whole wheat or whole wheat blend pasta for about the same price as the regular stuff. You can also make your own at home. Here are the basics on how to create fresh pasta, but remember to replace the white flour with your grain of choice: http://www.ehow.com/how_2253987_make-fresh-pasta.html
Next, look at what type of sauce you typically put on your pasta. This is usually what makes a normal pasta totally unhealthy, especially if you use cream based sauces that are loaded with fat and calories. Stick to marinara and tomato sauces instead, specifically ones that are low in sodium and sugar. Some brands that create great, tasty and healthy sauces include Healthy Choice, Colavita and Tree of Life. Better yet, you can make your own! Check out this recipe on how to create your own sauce: http://www.ehow.com/how_2161174_pasta-sauce-fresh-tomatoes.html. Add and subtract as needed and before you know it, you'll be competing with Italian Grandma's for best sauce on the block. If you still miss the creaminess of those cream sauces, consider a lemon butter sauce, which is basically just a combination of butter (use light, low sodium butter), lemon, and a bit of wine wine. It's still not the best alternative, but used in moderation it is a bit of a healthier choice.
After you decide on the two major components, take a look at what meat you put into your pasta. If you're adding heavy sausage and ground beef with a high fat content, you're adding hundreds of calories to your dish. Lean towards lean chicken breast. or lean ground turkey. If you really miss the beef flavor, add a bit to your sauce, and make sure it has a low percentage of fat. You won't miss it.
Add some healthy veggies to your dish. Nothing beats fresh carrots and broccoli in pasta. Add your favorites from the supermarket or your garden to create a more filling plate.
Throw in some fresh herbs to give it the kick you miss from the lowered salt content. Some fresh basil is always great, but choose what you like and sprinkle a bit on top.
Tips & Warnings
- Pasta is as simple as you make it. If you like just a bit of sauce and noodles, great! Add only what you want to make the dish complete.
- No matter how healthy a meal, you'll be overdoing it if you don't watch your portions. A healthy serving of pasta is 1/2 cup, cooked. Add in veggies and lean meats to fill you up if this doesn't seem like enough.
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