Eat Pasta, Lose Weight?
You really can enjoy your meals and lose weight too!
- Sarah E. Wally, MS RD
Pasta has seen its share of negative news headlines in recent years. With so many talking heads vilifying “white carbs,” and fad diets urging consumers to cut out carbohydrates all together, it’s no wonder we’re all so confused!
If you are one of the many Americans who have cut down on pasta consumption for fear of packing on the pounds, there’s good news: you can enjoy pasta and still lose weight. Pasta fits into a healthy diet.
With roughly 100 calories per half cup serving, very little sodium and no cholesterol – pasta is an ideal foundation for building healthy meals. Follow the tips below to learn how to build lower calorie pasta meals that will satisfy the whole family and help slim your waistline.
The fallacy that carbs leave you sluggish is just that – unless you are stuffing yourself to the gills. One cup of cooked pasta (a standard portion size) is roughly the size of a baseball. One tip to help you gain control of your portion sizes: Eat from smaller dishes, such as a 10-inch plate or even a salad plate. It may seem silly at first, but research shows you can actually trick your brain into thinking you are consuming a larger amount of food when eating from a smaller dish.
Pick better partners
Pasta is an ideal partner for other nutritious foods that are essential to a healthy diet. It’s great to pair with fiber-filled vegetables and beans, heart healthy fish and oils, antioxidant-rich tomato sauce and protein-packed, poultry and lean meats. Pairing pasta with low-calorie, high-fiber or high-protein foods also slows the digestion process, allowing you to stay full longer.
Pump up the volume
One popular weight management strategy focuses on lowering the calorie content of your meals, while keeping the volume of food eaten the same. By replacing high-calorie, high-fat foods like full-fat cheese and fatty meats with high-water foods (hint: think fruits and vegetables), you can still enjoy a full plate of food and cut calories at the same time. Try it yourself next time you sit down to a plate of spaghetti and meatballs by replacing a meatball or two with half a cup of steamed broccoli.
Dealing with carbs and weight control up next!