What’s the Healthiest Pasta?

What's the Healthiest Pasta?Pasta has gotten a bit of a bad rap. Most people would agree that if you’re looking to lose weight or simply to maintain your weight loss, it’s best to cut out pasta completely. This isn’t necessarily true, though. As is the case with everything, moderation is key. Don’t eat it for dinner each night, and when you do, keep your serving size to a minimum. People tend to eat A LOT of pasta–certainly more than the single-serving that’s suggested on the side of the pasta box.

Along with limiting the quanity of pasta you consume, consider experimenting with other types of pasta as well. No, I don’t mean switching up your rotini for fusilli or your linguine for fettuccine. Traditional pasta that we all know and love is made with refined white durum flour. Think of this type of pasta as the white bread of the pasta world. We all know if you’re watching your waistline, you should avoid white bread and other refined starches. Fortunately there are many other options.

Switching from “normal” pasta to whole wheat pasta is definitely a healthier option, but it’s definitely an acquired taste. The texture just isn’t the same, but if you’re looking for a pasta fix, this is a suitable replacement. Just make sure that  you keep the creamy sauces to a minimum, opting for a thick and chunky tomato-based sauce that will fill you up more than a thinner creamy sauce. An added bonus: whole wheat pasta has a lot more fiber than traditional pasta, which can also help you to feel more full.

Those on a gluten-free kick will likely be aware of the ever-growing availability of corn and rice-based pastas lining store shelves. These will likely seem like the healthiest option, but a quick comparison between nutrition labels will reveal that these gluten-free pastas tend to have more carbs and less fiber than the gluten-based pastas. So, unless you’re choosing gluten-free out of genuine health concerns, there’s likely a better option.

So what’s the best compromise if you want the taste and texture of traditional pasta but with the benefits of whole wheat pasta? Check out multigrain pastas at your local grocery store. They’re the best of both worlds, providing you with the increased fiber from whole wheat pasta with the familiar taste and texture from regular pasta.

How to Choose a Healthy Bread

How to Choose a Healthy BreadI try to eat healthy, avoiding carbs and starches whenever possible. That means I stay away from potato and tortilla chips, french fries, and pasta as much as I can. The one thing that I can’t seem to give up though is bread. I love it as toast in the morning, made into a grilled cheese at lunch, and as a side of garlic bread with a steak for dinner.

Like everything, there are good and bad options, and bread is no exception. Knowing which is which is important, especially with bread, as what you think might be healthy is anything but. White bread is bad, everyone should know that by now, it’s no secret. With all traces of husk and brain stripped away from the grain, refined white flour is then bleached with chemicals which eliminates anything that your body would recognize as being good for you. What’s left then has gluten and sugar added to it before it’s baked into white bread.

At the grocery store you may think that skipping the white bread in favor of whole wheat is a smart choice, but it’s really not. Unless it says 100% whole grain bread, you’re simply buying white bread with wheat added to it to disguise it as a healthy product. You’ll still experience the same sugar high that you’d get from white bread, and the inevitable crash that follows.

As I mentioned, the key to finding a healthy bread at the supermarket is to look for breads labeled as 100% whole grain. This means that the flour has not been refined so it still contains its nutrients. Whole grains contain fiber, which helps you stay full, vitamins, and protein as well. While all breads contain sugar to activate the yeast, you’ll want to make sure that it’s not the first or second ingredient. Four or five ingredients deep and you’re likely making a good choice.

But there are so many different types of breads to choose from, so which one is truly a good choice? Rather than looking at the packaging of the bread, flip it over and look for the nutritional information. The fewer ingredients the better. Avoid breads made with high fructose corn syrup, honey, or any kinds of coloring. The old adage of “less is more” proves once again to be true when it comes to the foods we eat.