Everyone loves pasta, but sadly enough, it's not so good for our bodies. While a small portion of pasta is OK to have on occasion, it's one of those foods that unfortunately should be eliminated from your regular diet if you're aiming for sustained weight loss.
Why? Because pasta is made from wheat flour that scores very high in the glycemic-index, meaning it causes a spike in blood sugar and insulin levels, which ultimately leads to weigh gain. Also, wheat flour contains gluten, and it’s now well known that many people do better with no or limited amounts of gluten in their diet, myself being one of them. Gluten causes inflammation in the gut, which can lead to a whole host of more serious issues.
Therefore, I’ve discovered other pasta-like options that are not only gluten-free, but also higher in nutrition.
Here are some amazing and healthy alternatives to your regular wheat flour pasta, all of which are gluten-free:
- brown rice pasta
- quinoa pasta
- buckwheat pasta
- bean pasta (including black bean, adzuki or mung bean & edamame spaghetti)
- shirataki noodles
- zucchini noodles (a.k.a. zoodles)
- spaghetti squash - my favorite!
The easiest-to-find and most common is brown rice pasta, which comes in a variety of shapes. But for grain-free options that are still easy (prepared similarly to your regular pasta), I love quinoa, buckwheat and bean pastas. (Yes - both quinoa and buckwheat are actually seeds, not grains, and naturally gluten-free!) You can find them in most health food stores and even on Amazon.
If you're on a calorie-restrictive diet and looking for an easy pre-made pasta, I highly suggest you try shirataki noodles (a.k.a. "miracle noodles") which are essentially calorie-free! They come in a water-filled pouch and are found in the refrigerated section of most supermarkets; just make sure to rinse them well.
The healthiest and most natural option however (and great for you "paleo" followers) is making your own spaghetti/noodle-like dish, using either spaghetti squash (all you need to do is bake it and scoop out the stringy flesh with a fork- it’s just like spaghetti!) or zucchini noodles using a mandolin slicer or spiralizer.
Here are 2 vegetable pasta recipes that your entire family will love!:
Once you start experimenting with healthier versions of your favorite carb heavy foods (especially pasta!), you’ll not only get used to them, but you''ll start to crave them! It’s all about creating new habits, which slowly “crowd-out” the old, less-healthy habits.
You’ll see that making these small changes are VERY effective for shedding those excess pounds, AND totally doable. More importantly, the increased nutritional value that you'll be getting by making these swaps will go a long way towards making you overall healthier.
If you want more on living a healthier and more balanced life, shoot me a message!
Love and Healthy Pasta,