During a discussion with a co-worker about my weight loss and what I do and do not eat, the subject of eating pasta came up. After professing that she could not see herself not eating pasta, she asked if I ate pasta.
I am not much of a pasta eater. Bread is to me as pasta is to my co-worker. Even so, I have managed my bread addiction for the good of my weight loss. How did I do it? With adjustments.
Putting myself in the place of my co-worker, who I know would love to lose weight, I thought about the adjustments I would make when it comes to pasta. I came up with the three things I would do:
- Research pasta alternatives
- Try pasta alternative recipes
- Have a pasta dining out plan
Research Pasta Alternatives
I would do a Google search on the keywords “pasta alternatives”.
If you are a pasta-holic like my co-worker, to help you out, here are a couple of sites for you to check out. Some of the information is repeated, but at least you have a cross reference. To make it even easier, I have also created a list of alternatives for you in the photo below.
- 6 Healthy Alternatives to Pasta – Slideshow of pasta alternatives. Ideal forms and pairings are suggested.
- Healthy Pasta Alternatives: Foods That Easily Replace White Noodles (PHOTOS) – This link also provides a slideshow. It also lists each pasta alternative with its nutritional benefits and provides a link to recipes.
Try Pasta Alternative Recipes
What use is the research if we do nothing with it, right?
My next course of action would be to search for recipes that include those alternative pasta options. I would be sure to pay close attention to other information such as the other ingredients, fat content, number of calories, and sodium level. Why?
It is possible to make what should be good for you bad for you with the wrong accompanying ingredients. If nutritional information is not provided, I either bypass the recipe or enter the recipe in MyFitnessPal app to let it calculate the nutritional information for me.
Once I find something to my liking, I give the recipe a try. Here I share with you a Quinoa Lasagna recipe I have tried. The recipe also calls for zucchini, but my stomach and zucchini and squash do not get along. I took that recipe and modified it. Mainly I skipped the zucchini.
I also put the above recipe in MyFitnessPal to get the nutritional information for the specific ingredients. For example, I used Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce – No Salt Added. My goal was to reduce the amount of sodium in the dish. I used my Fooducate app to help me find the sauce. Check out my grocery shopping tips to learn more about tools I use for grocery shopping.
Have a Pasta Dining Out Plan
The above options are great if you cook, but who does that anymore? In many households, gone are the days of old when we have dinner at home around the dinner table with our family. We opt instead to eat out or on the run. Is that the case for you?
Eating out, however, can be problematic. Unless you live in an area that is health conscious – I don't – good luck finding pasta alternatives at most restaurants, at least in the United States. Does that mean you are out of luck? No. It means you must be pragmatic and disciplined. Planning ahead is the way to go.
Know before you go. Use tools such as Yelp, MyFitnessPal, restaurant menus, and restaurant nutritional information, if it is offered, to research what the restaurant offers before heading out to eat. If there are ingredients added to a dish that will make it less than healthy, know that you will ask for that item not to be included or if it can be substituted. You may have to pay an up charge, but that up charge is worth fewer calories and less fat.
Share one dish. If you do not think you are disciplined enough to eat some now and save some for later, pick a dish that you and someone else can share. This will help you with portion control. If you are at an Italian restaurant that only serves family style dishes, which are usually HUGE, eyeball your plate. Only fill a quarter of the plate with pasta. This is especially true if there are no pasta alternatives. Fill the rest of the plate with a steamed or grilled vegetables or a salad.
Enjoy Foods You Love with a Twist
As you can see, you do not have to entirely abandon foods that you love in order to lose weight. Simply plan ahead and make wise adjustments.