The Power and Comfort of Pasta
You really can’t beat the power of pasta! It is a versatile food that is just perfect for:
- enjoying a quick, easy-to-make meal, either alone or paired with a protein or veggies
- providing sustained energy when consumed in advance of an athletic event
- pairing with a favorite cheese or incorporated into soup/stew
- providing comfort when feeling under-the-weather and in need of gentle nourishment
With so many new varieties of pasta–lentil, rice, corn, wheat, black bean, garbanzo, and Jerusalem artichoke–you can acquire a wide range of nutrients, flavors, and textures. This makes pasta even more versatile, especially for those who follow a vegetarian diet considering a serving of protein can be enjoyed with the carbohydrates naturally found in pasta.
The nutrient breakdown for pasta should not be overlooked:
Provides fuel (carbohydrates) for sustained energy for the brain and muscles
Whole grain pasta contains fiber, which supports digestive and colon health
Has a low glycemic index, which helps keep blood sugar levels in balance
Helps sustain fullness
Be mindful of your pasta add-ons as creamy sauces and dressings can add unnecessary calories, fat, and sodium. When possible, choose whole grain pasta. For gluten-free diets (GF), the source of the grain (corn, lentil, etc.) impacts cooking times, flavor and texture. Pay attention to labels and methods of preparation. You may need to experiment with different types of GF pasta to suit the dish being prepared.
The next time you are craving a hearty meal that won’t load you on extra calories and fat, consider the power and comfort of pasta! With so many sizes, shapes, and flavors you can’t go wrong with adding a serving of pasta to lunch or dinner!
Go to the NHAND blog for more recipes and information on healthy food choices.