5 tips for healthier pasta meals

Pasta is a dinner favorite among many Americans. It's tasty, filling and easy to make. During culinary academy, you probably prepared several pasta dishes. However, because of its high content of carbohydrates, many people think eating pasta will lead to weight gain. In reality, it is possible to make healthy pasta. Here are five tips for healthier pasta meals:

Choose whole grain pasta
One of the easiest ways to make a healthier pasta dish is to use whole grain pasta noodles. Whole grain pasta is packed with fiber, which helps you feel fuller longer. Since your stomach is more satisfied, you will be less likely to go for a second serving. According to FitDay, the B vitamins found in whole grains boost your metabolism by releasing calories found in carbohydrates, fat and protein. Whole wheat pasta has a grainier texture than white pasta, but it still tastes delicious.

Add vegetables
Instead of adding sausage or meatballs to your pasta, toss some vegetables into the pot. Vegetables, such as broccoli, peppers and mushrooms, are not just low in calories; they are also high in fiber. Sprinkle a little olive oil and basil on your vegetables to give them more flavor.

Avoid red meat
Pasta is typically made with beef, but red meat isn't exactly the healthiest. If you want to add protein to your pasta dish, choose lean meats such as ground turkey. Lean meats will provide your body with plenty of energy, but they don't contain as much saturated fat and cholesterol content as beef. According to Livestrong.com, one 3 1/2-ounce cooked ground turkey patty contains only 65 milligrams of cholesterol and 0.7 gram of saturated fat, making it a great option for those at risk of heart disease. 

Use a healthy sauce
The wrong sauce can add a lot of calories to a pasta meal. If you want to keep your pasta healthy, don't use sauces containing heavy creams or cheeses. Instead, pour some light tomato sauce over your noodles. Tomato sauce is packed with flavor, but i doesn't contain nearly as many calories as heavier pasta sauces.

Don't forget about spices
Salt can improve a pasta meal's taste, but it isn't great for your body. If you want to add more flavor to your pasta noodles, include different spices such as basil, red pepper flakes and oregano. 

If you follow these helpful tips, you can enjoy a delicious pasta meal without ruining your diet. 

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