Eating pasta might seem impossible on a low carb diet. But there are ways to enjoy this carbohydrate-rich food that will keep blood sugar from spiking, keep full and give the taste satisfaction that only pasta can. I will show how and when to eat it and which type of pasta is best when choosing to indulge.
It’s often thought that working out harder and overdoing it with cardio is the best way to lose or maintain weight. However, the fact is that 80% is diet. Meal plans are a great way to keep on track, especially low “starchy-carb” meal plans. This means easy on the breads, rice, potatoes and pasta. Carbohydrates retain water, digest faster than proteins and turn to sugar in the body. But everyone needs to satisfy cravings. Allow one cheat day per week. If choosing to make pasta, here are some tips on how and when to eat it.
Pasta is a carbohydrate. Period. Doesn’t matter if it’s whole wheat, rice or bean/lentil pasta. While rice and bean pasta are recommended for those needing a gluten-free diet, be aware that they have 45 grams and 33 grams of carbs per cup, respectively. Whole wheat has 37 grams. Most low carb diets keep daily the count between 20-100 grams. Those numbers make it difficult to have pasta. It is still possible, though.
Eat starchy carbohydrates earlier in the day. Carbs are an energy source, so eat them either for breakfast or lunch. This way, the body will use it throughout the day and by the time evening comes; it’s used up. Lunch is a great meal for pasta. It will help the feeling of fullness and satisfaction and by the time dinner rolls around, it’s digested. Eat a light dinner of protein and vegetables, keep salt to a minimum and the scale won’t move.
Prepare a cup of pasta. It may not seem like much, but there are ways to make that cup seem like much more. Add sautéed vegetables. Make interesting choices. Kale, Portobello mushrooms and heirloom tomatoes can be sautéed with garlic, fresh basil and oregano and a touch of olive oil. This combo adds fiber, nutrients and a ton of flavor. Add equal amounts of vegetables and pasta together to get a satisfying meal.
Go one step further and add ½ cup of ground turkey or even some cooked shrimp. The protein will take longer to digest and you’ll have a great one-dish meal.
Make pasta as a side dish for dinner, not the main course. Stay away from any kind of cream sauce or oil-based sauce, as these will add lots of calories. Use olive oil sparingly when sauteing vegetables. Add a touch of vegetable or chicken broth while cooking to help finish them off. Any kind of tomato-based sauce is the best choice for flavoring your pasta. A side dish should be simple. Feel free to add fresh herbs and garlic to the tomato sauce to make it flavorful. Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top will also add flavor and protein.
As long as the pasta portion is under control and both vegetables and protein are added, the satisfaction of eating it without the guilt or weight gain will be there. But remember, keep it only once a week.
Talk to you later!