6 Tips to Make Your Favorite Pasta Dishes Healthier
Balancing a love for pasta with healthy eating is no easy feat. Making matters worse is that many traditional Italian dishes (spaghetti and meatballs, fettuccine alfredo, and lasagna) are loaded with carbohydrates and saturated fat.
As huge pasta lovers ourselves, we searched for a way to make pasta dishes with less fat and fewer calories. This includes making new dishes and even some tweaks for some old favorites!
- Use lots of vegetables. Everyone loves some good meatballs, but if you’re looking to make your dish healthier, some veggies will help a lot. Whether you ditch the meat or not, vegetables are a great way to increase the bulk of the dish as well as add some nutrients. Think red pepper, broccoli, spinach, zucchini, and arugula.
- Pick healthier pasta. Did you know that picking whole wheat pasta doubles the amount of fiber in the meal? Between the sauce, veggies, and other ingredients, you probably won’t even notice the difference either. 100% whole wheat is best, but anything is better than regular pasta.
- Go easy on the cheese and choose wisely. Most cheeses come in full and reduced-fat varieties. Additionally, look for lean and nutritious cheeses, like parmesan, swiss, and cottage cheese. All of these cheeses are lean sources of protein and calcium.
- Use lean meat. As a rule of thumb, you should go for meat that’s at least 90% lean. Again, this is a switch that barely changes the taste but helps to make the meal more nutritious and less fatty. As for poultry, look for meat that comes purely from breast meat.
- Add mushrooms! Health benefits aside, we’re always cooking with mushrooms — they’re delicious! Though nutritional content varies greatly depending on the mushroom you’re cooking with, they’re all low in calories and pack some variety of nutrients. Button mushrooms, the ones most commonly found at grocery stores, are a great source of both fiber and potassium.
- Stick to healthy portions. As a pasta company, we’d love to encourage you to eat it to your heart’s content…but as a pasta company writing a post about healthy eating, we’re encouraging you to watch your portions! A healthy portion of pasta should be about half a cup cooked. Add veggies and lean meats if it isn’t filling you up!
Pierinos offers all the whole wheat, nutritious pasta you need to cook healthy, lean meals. What are your tips for cooking healthy pasta dishes? Any favorite recipes? Let us know in the comments section below!