Think of the Pastabilities
Are you caught up in the low carb craze and thus avoiding pasta? There’s more to pasta than just carbohydrates. The dining halls serve DeCecco® pasta which is high in beneficial vitamins and minerals such as thiamin, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, and iron. However, traditional sauces and toppings may turn your pasta dish into a high-fat, high carbohydrate disaster. Read below to learn how to make your pasta molto bene for your taste buds and your health.
- Choose whole grain pasta to help reach your daily fiber goal. If you are having trouble adjusting to the different taste and texture, try filling your plate with half whole grain and half regular pasta. Practice portion control. One scoopful in the dining hall is approximately one cup of cooked pasta. Instead of filling your entire plate with pasta, leave room for vegetables and protein to balance your meal.
- Limit cheese and meat filled pastas such as ravioli, tortellini, stuffed shells, and lasagna, as they tend to be high in saturated fat and Calories.
- Opt for low-fat red saucesinstead of the thicker, cream based ones. Alfredo, carbonara and pink vodka sauce are higher in saturated fat and Calories than marinara, puttenesca, and red clam sauces.
- Choose sauces made with olive oil for a healthy source of unsaturated fat such as sundried tomato aioli, garlic and oil, and white clam sauce which all contain healthy oil. Remember, you can always ask for plain olive oil on your pasta at the “cook to order” stations.
- Mix in cooked vegetablessuch as broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms, or zucchini with your pasta to add color to your dish. Any item from the salad bar can be taken to the cook to order station and added to your pasta.
- Use herbslike oregano, rosemary, basil, and thyme for added flavor appeal instead of high-fat, high Calorie toppings such as butter or cheese.
- Add sliced grilled chicken breast, or chickpeas and kidney beans instead of high fat protein sources like meatballs or sausage.
Pasta, especially whole grain, can be a good source of many vitamins and minerals, in addition to complex carbohydrates. To enjoy a dish that’s both tasty and healthy, try incorporating the tips above and limiting your use of high-fat, high Calorie toppings and sauces.
Revised by: Andrea Ficarra
Reviewed By: Mrs. Worobey, M.A. – Dept. of Nutritional Sciences
References: Pasta. Available at: http://www.dececcousa.com/Pasta. Accessed on: November 17, 2011. Food Groups. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/foodgroups/index.html. Accessed on: November 17, 2011.