Most people are super afraid of pasta because of it’s carb-heavy nature. However, there are a number of easy ways to make pasta a healthier option…
Smaller portion size
The portion sizes at restaurants are out of control, especially at Italian places! Keep in mind, that 1 portion is a cupped handful. When possible, try to substitute white pasta for 100% whole wheat, multigrain, or brown rice pasta.
Pair it with a protein
Protein helps you feel full sooner and for longer and revs up your metabolism. In fact, a recent study found that when intaking higher amounts of protein participants saw improvement, no matter what the ratios of carbs and fats were! So I am always encouraging my clients to get a good amount of protein in at every meal.
Skip the cream sauce
The cream sauces tend to be full of unhealthy fats and really high in calories. Pesto, tomato, or oil are all healthier options.
Veggies are rich in fiber and cancer- and free-radical-fighting nutrients. They also balance out the acidity in our bodies. Prepare them any way you like. They go great with pasta!
As if there weren’t enough good reasons already, exercise also increases your body’s ability to utilize carbs. In fact, if you regularly do high-intensity sports or exercise or lift weights, your body can handle more carbs and needs them for proper functioning!
This is not to say that you should start carb-loading. Carbohydrate intake depends on a number of factors: your goals, genetics, carb source, and activity level. However, they are not the enemy we have been led to believe they are. Focus on eating reasonable amounts of macronutrients from quality sources. Focus on doing it consistently. Your body will take care of the rest.
Below is a recipe that I got from a friend. I modified it by increasing the protein and veggies and decreasing the pasta. It’s a super easy and super yummy dinner, but this way it’s gonna give you more bang for your fat-loss-lovin’ buck. 🙂 I’ve gotten requests for the recipe a few times in the last month, so I thought I’d share.
Chicken & Veggies Pasta (with a kick 😉 )
1.5 pounds of chicken (cut into cubes)
1/2 box of penne noodles
1 28 oz. can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 bag of frozen green beans
3/4 C. frozen mixed bell peppers (or however much you’d prefer)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. italian seasoning
1 tsp minced garlic
2 T. coconut or avocado oil
Parmesan cheese (optional)
– Cook pasta as directed
– Saute chicken with garlic, S&P, and oil until done
– Add in frozen veggies a few minutes into sautéing, and add tomatoes at the end to warm them up
– Combine pasta and chicken and veggies and season to taste