There are may pasta alternatives out there. Some are even zero smart points!
Why are most of us such big fans of pasta? Because it’s a delicious, comfort food, that’s hard to resist. The problem is that traditional pasta can cause weight gain. Pasta is also loaded with carbs that have a negative effect on blood-sugar levels and can cause your overall health to suffer. That said, the following five pasta alternatives are good for you, can help weight watchers lose weight, and they’re tasty too!
1. Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is a low fat (0.5 grams of fat per cup) winter squash that can be transformed into pasta-like strings. Think thin-sized spaghetti here.
Spaghetti squash contains about 92% water weight, which accounts for its amazing lack of calories. Just scrape out the spaghetti like strings and top with your favorite pasta sauce. Spaghetti squash boasts a wide variety of vitamins as well. Just 1-cup of spaghetti squash contains 5.4 mg of vitamin C, just about 10% of the recommended daily intake.
Just half it, take the seeds out, add some water to a bowl, and cook it in the microwave until its soft. Then take a fork to the squash and scrape away. You’ll have spaghetti squash noodles in no time!
2. Zucchini Noodles
Because of the high water content in zucchini, it’s low in carbs, calories and sugars. Zucchini is also high in essential nutrients like manganese, potassium and antioxidants like vitamin A and C. Julienned, shredded sliced into ribbons using a spiralizer or peeler, this low-calorie pasta alternative delivers a great veggie boost when topped off with your favorite pasta sauce.
Zucchini noodles are often referred to as Zoodles. My favorite thing to do with them is spiral them into fettucini noodles and add a little low-calorie white sauce and chicken to the meal. What a wonderful, quick and easy chicken fettucini dish. My kids like it too! This is the one that I have:
3. Shirataki Noodles
These noodles are basically made of fiber and contain zero calories or fat. Shirataki noodles don’t have any real taste, however, similar to tofu; they absorb flavors. Shirataki noodles can be served right out of the package. However, the packaging recommends draining, rinsing then boiling them. Shirataki Noodles are typically found near the section of the store where tofu is displayed. Due to their popularity, these noodles can now be found in retail grocery stores.
I personally can’t stand these noodles. Probably because when I first tried them, they smelled like fish. I’m sure they’re better now, but I’d rather have a zoodle.
4. Whole Grain Pasta Alternatives
When it comes to healthy pasta, Barilla tops the list, carrying several pasta varieties, including ProteinPLUS and other versions containing white fiber, whole-grains, veggie and gluten-free. Barilla’s ProteinPLUS line incorporates egg whites, legumes, barley, flaxseed (adds Omega 3s) and spelt (a hulled wheat) to increase the protein content. A 2-ounce serving has 190 calories, 10 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and tastes great. Another healthy pasta alternative is brown rice pasta which is also a great source of magnesium and protein. Brown rice pasta is also a good option for those who need a gluten free pasta option.
5. Soba Noodles
This Japanese noodle alternative is packed with protein and fiber and has a nice, slightly nutty taste. The buckwheat flour used to make these noodles come with a number of health benefits and is also a gluten-free grain. Buckwheat flour is also heart healthy, helps prevent heart disease and is rich in phytonutrients, antioxidants that can prevent a variety of diseases.
These pasta alternatives will help satisfy a pasta fix without packing on the pounds. They’ll also leave you energized and feeling light instead of bloated and tired. They’re the perfect pasta alternatives for weight watchers who love pasta.
In all, my favorite pasta alternative is zoodles and spaghetti squash. Mix them with a bit of marinara sauce and some meatballs and you’re good to go! Which of the above alternatives is your favorite?