1. Choose the Right Pasta
Let’s start with the basics: the pasta itself. The one key factor to remember is that you should choose pasta made from whole grains.
Whole-wheat or whole-grain pasta includes layers of the grain that add your dish (these grains have been removed from regular white pasta). Because of this, whole-grain pasta is digested more slowly, which helps to maintain a steady level of glucose in the blood and keeps you feeling fuller longer.
Always check the ingredients list when you’re buying pasta, and look for whole-wheat flour listed as the first ingredient. this equals about ½ cup when cooked. A big, hearty bowl can , so be sure to determine the right portion size for, allotment, and serve accordingly.
2. Make the Veggie Swap
One way to enjoy a larger helping of your favorite pasta dishes is to swap flour-based pasta for veggie noodles. Using a spiralizer or veggie peeler, cut vegetables into “noodles,” sauté for a few minutes, and top with the sauce of your choice. Zucchini, carrots, parsnips, and butternut squash all work well in pasta dishes.
3. Volumize With Vegetables
Just can’t give up your pasta noodles? That’s okay. You can enjoy flour-based pasta while keeping in check by using vegetables to increase the volume of your meal. Start with a base of whole-grain pasta, and then pile on veggies like spinach, onions, peppers, squash, zucchini, eggplant, peas, mushrooms, and broccoli.
You can lightly sauté or steam vegetables that have been cut into chunks or strips, and then toss them in after you cook pasta or add them to homemade sauce.
Now that you’ve got pasta and fresh vegetables covered. Skinless chicken (grilled, baked, or sautéed) instantly turns pasta into a filling main course. Steamed, grilled, or sautéed shrimp is another delicious choice to top off your noodles.
Even meatballs can be a pasta topper when made with lean ground chicken or turkey. Or go vegetarian by using nuts and legumes as the base, like in this recipe for meatless meatballs.
4. Pasta Sauce Matters
The final step is saucing up your bowl. Before you pour on a generous serving, Sauce can quickly take a pasta dish . If it’s coming from a jar, read the label to check the sodium content. As a general rule of thumb, select a variety that has no, and 150 milligrams of sodium per serving. Cream-based sauces like Alfredo or carbonara tend to be high, so sticking with a basic tomato sauce is usually a safe bet.
You can also get creative and go homemade, which is a smart way to control the amount of sodium in your dish. Simply combine low-sodium canned or diced tomatoes with fresh herbs like basil and oregano, and simmer in a pot on the stove. Or toss pasta with a bit of olive oil, minced garlic, and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice for a light, fresh taste. If a craving for a heavier sauce hits, going homemade can also allow you to lighten up a recipe without losing the comfort-food flavor. Give it a try with this Fettuccine Faux-Fredo that utilizes beans for a creamy texture while cutting back.