A healthy diet isn’t about giving up your favorite foods, especially spaghetti! There are some easy and tasty ways to make your favorite spaghetti healthier and more nutritious.
Q: I don’t want to give up my spaghetti! What are some healthier ways to order it?
A: A healthy diet isn’t about giving up your favorite foods, especially spaghetti! While many eating plans and diets focus on restricted or forbidden foods, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics actually recommends a total diet approach that focuses on moderation and healthful foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and low fat dairy. With that said, there are some easy and tasty ways to make your favorite spaghetti healthier and more nutritious.
Go Whole Grain – We can’t stress this one enough. Whenever you have the option to order whole grain, go for it! This quickly boosts the fiber and vitamins in the dish and can help keep blood sugar steadier than traditional refined pasta.
Sauce Makes or Breaks It – Traditional marinara can be a great choice for spaghetti. It’s often lower in fat and calories than other creamier sauce choices, and it’s higher in nutrition. Made with tomatoes, this popular red sauce lends a boost of vitamin C and cancer-fighting lycopene to your dish.
Pile on the Veggies – If you have the option, add veggies to your spaghetti. Zucchini and mushrooms may already be included in the sauce, and you can also request that a side of steamed broccoli or mixed veggies be tossed with your pasta. Adding veggies not only adds vitamins and minerals, but it can also add filling bulk without a lot of added calories. Bonus points if you’re able to swap pasta for spaghetti squash in your meal!
Gettin’ Meaty – When meatballs are a must, look for leaner versions, like turkey, or stick to smaller portions. Depending on the restaurant, they may be the size of a golf ball or the size of a baseball, and the calories and fat can add up quickly.
Healthy, Not Hearty Portions – Italian restaurants are known for serving extra-large servings of pasta just like Nonna used to. These servings are often several times the size of a standard portion. Stick to about half a cup of pasta topped with all the other good stuff, and save the rest for tomorrow.
What’s your favorite way to make spaghetti healthier? Spaghetti and other popular Italian food can make great choices when you opt for healthier ingredients, preparations and serving sizes.