If you’re health-concious, trying to lose weight, or grew up in the era of the low-carb craze, chances are you consider pasta as strictly an accompaniment to a special occasion. Carb-loading the night before a marathon. A romantic, anniversary dinner at an Italian restaurant. A treat at the end of a particularly stressful week.
But what if we told you that carb-ing up on a more regular basis could actually make you healthier?
The Obesity Society reported that adults who consume pasta have an overall better diet quality than those who don’t.
No, this is not an April Fool’s joke. (It’s February.)
Using the USDA’s Healthy Eating Index, researchers identified that those who consistently included pasta in their meals scored higher diet quality scores, presented with a greater intake of nutrients like folate, iron, magnesium and dietary fiber, consumed a lower daily intake of saturated fat and added sugar, and ate more vitamins and minerals.
The truth is, the low-carb craze left out some immensely important nutritional information. Carbohydrates are an important macronutrient crucial for providing energy that the body needs to function. So it’s time to consider letting go of any reluctance you have towards integrating whole grains like pasta into your weekly menu.
Of course, like anything, there a few factors to take into account when crafting your pasta dish. Namely: choosing a whole grain, high fiber quality pasta; looking for a sauce without crazy amounts of sugar, saturated fats, or sodium; and keeping portion sizes in check.
Here are seven recipes (one for every night of the week) that follow these guidelines deliciously.
This recipe comes appropriately packaged in the colors of Italy. Swap white pasta for a whole-grain, high-fiber alternative to kick this healthful recipe up a notch.
Try this hearty recovery meal after a tough evening workout. All you need is 30 minutes tops to get this dish prepped and on the table.
For a leaner take on pesto, try making it from scratch. You can whip up this sauce in your food processor in less than five minutes.
Let this recipe take you back to warm, lethargic summer evenings. The recipe provides a hefty dose of Vitamin C, an antioxidant that brightens your complexion and gives your immune system a boost (to help you power through cold and flu season).
To keep it super simple, just grab three ingredients from the pantry—olive oil, garlic and parmesan cheese. This dinner can be ready in 20 minutes flat. Just make sure to steam a side of veggies while you’re waiting for the water to boil.
For a vegetarian spin on your go-to order at Olive Garden, try this tomato-based sauce. Once the sauce is cooked, run it through your food processor a couple of times to disguise all the veggies.
Along with those energy-packed carbohydrates, the avocados in this recipe provide essential omega-3 fatty acids that fight against heart disease and depression. Top with some charred roasted tomatoes for an antioxidant boost and a dose of color.
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