How to get a Healthier Pasta Fix

Do you love eating pasta during the week but want a healthier pasta fix? I’ve got you!

If it were up to me, I’d eat pasta for every meal of the day. It’s quick to prepare (hello box pasta!) and sooooo tasty. But the reality is, pasta won’t keep you full very long and eating a lot of it will usually make you feel groggy and blegh.

So change up your pasta night with my top tips for a healthier pasta fix!

1) Try legume-based, gluten free pasta alternatives

They’re made from lentils, chickpeas, and even edamame and packed with fiber and protein to keep you satisfied longer without the blood sugar spike of traditional pasta.  I usually cook them 1 minute less than the box suggests for the best texture. I’m a HUGE fan of Banza Chickpea pasta products and also recently loved the WW lentil pasta when I tried it. Edamame pasta is cool but has an odd chewy texture – I like it best for cold noodle salads and skip the Black Bean pasta -it was mushy and not fun 😂

2) Lighten up your sauce (while keeping the flavor!)

OF COURSE you know I have your back with this one!  There are recipes below for a garlicky, lemony Skinny Shrimp Scampi, a rich cheesy Light Alfredo with Tricolor Noodles, a luscious Brown Butter Sage Sauce, and an easy Grandma-Style Marinara with Turkey Meatballs so you can enjoy your favorites in a healthier way..

3) Use spiralized veggie noodles

You knew I was going to bring up those spiralized veggie noodles right?! The trick to keeping Zucchini Noodles or Spaghetti Squash Strands from turning to mush is BARELY cooking them. Just toss them into the sauce to heat up at the end right before you’re going to eat them.  You can also look for Carrot Noodles or Butternut Noodles at the supermarket for a firmer texture or DIY with a Spiralizer at home. You can also try swapping in thin-sliced roasted eggplant or zucchini in place of lasagna noodles. Check out this quick video where I share lots of veggie noodle and cauliflower rice cooking tips! 

4) Mix real pasta AND Veggie Noodles

Right?!  That way you still get the bite and flavor of say…the spaghetti you love and can enjoy a bigger portion because you’re using half-cooked spaghetti and half veggie noodle! It’s a great way to sneak more veggies into a meal too.

5) Eat the pasta you really want, especially when it’s special, & enjoy every bite!!!

Ok here’s the thing -my tips above are for weeknight meals, everyday lunches, etc.  But when you’re out for a special dinner at a restaurant that makes home-made pasta, or treating yourself, or celebrating something…have the pasta you want in a reasonable portion, track it (for my WW friends), enjoy every satisfying bite, and then just get on with your healthy life! 

Honestly barring a food allergy NO food should be off-limits ALL the time or you’ll only resent the healthy lifestyle you’re living and wind up going overboard in another way.  It’s all a matter of balance and finding ways to satisfy those everyday cravings in a happy-healthy way!