In this blog post, we will answer the following question: How often should I eat pasta? We will teach you how to add pasta to your diet without worrying too much about its calories!
How often should I eat pasta?
You can eat pasta several times a week – three or four times a week is more than enough. Cereals (pasta, rice, bread, flakes, etc.) are, along with potatoes, the basis of a healthy diet: the ideal is to eat six servings a day in total (a serving of pasta is half a cup of cooked pasta).
With pasta, if we add meat or fish and some vegetables (for example, tomato sauce), we have a full plate, and it is not necessary to serve a second.
Generally, pasta is made with durum wheat salt and water. Therefore, it is the food of the group of cereals. This group of foods provides a small number of proteins and fats and many carbohydrates, a nutrient for the body like gasoline for automobiles: its combustion. It produces energy to move, study, and learn.
Pasta only has about 350 calories per hundred grams. Very fatty and widely used ingredients with pasta, such as butter, cream, or bacon, should be reserved for special occasions because they increase the dish’s caloric intake and increase cholesterol.
Due to its neutral flavor, pasta combines with all foods:
- With raw vegetables: in a salad;
- With minced meat, ham or chorizo: lasagna, spaghetti, cannelloni;
- With fish or seafood: spaghetti;
- In soup: noodles;
How to consume pasta healthily?
It is common to think that pasta should be eliminated if we want to have a healthy diet. However, this food can offer many benefits, and we must not stop including it in the usual diet. Usually, the way we typically consume pasta is not the most appropriate if we want to reduce the dish’s calories.
Pasta is an energetic food, but low in fat, with a certain amount of proteins, minerals (iron and zinc), and B vitamins. Although nutritionists recommend it, up to two or three times a week, many people stop including it in the diet because they consider its caloric intake excessive.
Pasta provides a moderate amount of calories (350 per 100 grams of dry pasta), but it is the way to supplement and cook it, making it a low, moderate, or high-calorie menu.
What adds more calories and fat to a pasta dish are the ingredients used to accompany it, and this is where we can play to get a lighter or more complete meal according to our needs and goals.
Today I suggest some ways to cook and consume pasta more healthily:
- Consume pasta with salads. You can choose any type of noodles or spaghetti and combine them with cooked or raw vegetables. For example, grated carrot, corn, tomato, arugula, fresh peas, palm hearts, green beans, sautéed bell peppers and onions, steamed or pickled broccoli cauliflower, etc.
- Cook it “al dente,” that is, remove it from the water before it reaches its cooking time, in such a way that it requires more chewing time, requires more time to digest, which implies a lower glycemic index, more satiety, and energy for longer.
- Combine it with lean proteins, so you can expand your ability to give satiety. Against all myths, combining pasta with lean beef, chicken breast, tuna or mackerel, egg, or low-fat cheese can go a long way to quench your appetite healthily.
- Choose its integral version, whatever its form, because it is best to obtain more fiber, more hardness, and more digestion time by switching to integral pasta. If we cannot access the brands available in the market, we can make homemade pasta using whole wheat flour.
- Avoid sauces with cream or butter. Always prefer the preparation of vegetable sauces, boiled, without frying or added fat. Once the pasta is served, you can add a few drops of olive or canola oil at the end of the preparation.
- You can make “pasta” of vegetables, such as zucchini, aubergine, carrot, cutting said vegetables into thin strips simulating a ribbon noodle. They can be cooked on their own or mixed with typical noodles.
- As for stuffed pasta (ravioli, capeletinis, sorrentinos), it is always better to make them homemade and choose stuffed with various vegetables, lean ricotta, and low-fat cheese.
The key, as always, is in moderation. What must also be taken into account is that in addition to taking care of the amounts of carbohydrates that we consume, we must pay attention to the type of food we accompany the bread, pasta, rice, or potatoes in that we cook them.
As we can see, there are multiple ways of cooking and combining pasta with other foods, which favors us due to its contributions to other nutrients such as proteins, good fats, vitamins and minerals, and fibers mainly. Remember that a healthy diet is varied and complete, so we do not need to eliminate foods, but to know how to choose them in their healthiest versions, to avoid excesses.
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