The Best Pastas for Weight Loss, According to a Dietitian

The best pasta for weight loss is rich in protein and fiber.

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When we're trying to lose some weight, our first step is often to cut certain foods or food groups from our diet. Pasta—along with bread, rice, and other carbohydrate-rich foods—usually tops the list.

“People often think of pasta as just a carbohydrate with no nutritional value,” shares Amy Goring, RDN, an inclusive plant nutritionist and plant nutritionist in Stamford, Connecticut, and of Plant Based with Amy owner. “But that couldn't be further from the truth. There are many ways to incorporate pasta into a balanced diet and to choose types of pasta that increase nutrition.”

It's white pasta that casts a shadow on all pasta. Because it's made from refined flour, it inherently contains two weight loss-friendly nutrients: fiber and protein. According to the Mayo Clinic, high-fiber foods make you feel fuller more than low-fiber foods, and according to an April 2015 study published in ‌American Journal of Clinical Nutrition‌.

But in reality, there are plenty of options for pasta made from foods other than refined grains that provide healthy doses of fiber and protein. “I like to recommend pasta made with ingredients like beans or edamame so you get extra protein and fiber in your meal,” says Gorin.

With that said, here are the best pastas for weight loss.

According to the USDA, one cup of cooked chickpeas provides 15 grams of protein, 45 grams of carbohydrates and 12 grams of fiber. So, when you make pasta with chickpea flour as the first ingredient, all of these nutrients create a healthy pasta choice.

November 2016 at‌Nutrients‌ found that people who regularly ate chickpeas or hummus were 53% less likely to be obese. They also had a lower BMI and waist circumference than those who gave up beans. Again, this probably comes down to a huge combination of protein and fiber products.

Try These Chickpea Pasta

  • ‌‌‌Banza Chickpea Pasta Variety Pack of 6 ‌ ($17.16, Amazon)
  • ‌‌‌Barilla Chickpea Rotini 10 Packets‌ ($29.20, Amazon)
  • ‌‌‌Explore Cuisine Organic Chickpea Fusilli 6-Pack ‌ ($27.99, Amazon)

Like chickpeas, lentils are members of the legume family and are generally a good source of fiber and protein. But according to the Cleveland Clinic, lentils do excel when it comes to plant-based protein products. A half cup of lentils has 12 grams.

“I'm a big fan of legume-based pastas and eat them a lot. They provide filling protein and fiber and allow me to whip up a healthy meal in minutes,” says Gorin. “I also use them to make pasta casseroles and vegan macaroni and cheese. Experiment with different ingredients and shapes so you don't get bored!”

You'll usually find these pastas made with either red or green lentils, each with its own distinct flavor profile.

Try These Lentil Pasta

  • ‌‌‌Tolerant Organic Green Lentil Pasta 6-Pack‌ ($26.10, Amazon)
  • ‌‌‌Barilla Red Lentil Pasta & Macaroni Variety 6-Pack‌ ($19.14, Amazon)
  • ‌‌‌Ancient Harvest Green Lentil Pasta 6-Pack‌ ($34.99, Amazon)

If you haven't heard of lupine (sometimes spelled lupin or lupini), don't worry. Of all the best pasta for weight loss, lupine is one of the newer additions to the market. But their popularity is exploding: You'll also find lupines in bars, crackers, and on their own as a snack.

These beans are commonly found in Italian cuisine, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. While they're not a significant source of fiber — especially compared to most other legumes — they're high in protein. A half-cup serving contains 13 grams of the filling nutrient (and only about 100 calories).

Try These Lupine Pasta

  • ‌‌‌Lupii Mighty Lupine Pasta Variety Pack of 3‌ ($19.95, Amazon)
  • ‌‌‌Brami Superfood Pasta 6-Pack‌ ($29.99, Amazon)
  • ‌‌‌Lulupasta Protein Pasta‌ ($12.95, Amazon)

Shirataki noodles are made from the starchy konjac plant. They have a chewy texture and a fairly mild flavor. They're different from most other pasta substitutes because they're extremely low in calories and contain little to no protein, carbohydrates, and fat. But they're high in fiber — specifically a type of soluble fiber called glucomannan. This makes them ideal as a pasta base, especially if you're trying to lose weight.

Gorin is a fan of it: “If you're looking for a very low-calorie noodle dish, these are great fun. So maybe you have a higher-calorie main dish and you want your side dish to be very light.”

Another option is to stir them up a bit and make them a main dish. Since they're largely calorie-free (as well as protein and fat), try to balance this dish with lean protein, a tasty sauce, and fiber-rich vegetables. “I like to use shirataki noodles as a stir-fry—with tofu and vegetables. They cook quickly, which is a bonus,” says Gorin.

Try These Shirataki Noodles

  • ‌‌‌Liviva Organic Shirataki Pasta 6-Pack‌ ($25.08, Amazon)
  • ‌‌‌Miracle Shirataki Spaghetti 6 Pack‌ ($25.95, Amazon)
  • ‌‌‌It's Skinny Pasta Variety 6 Pack‌ ($22.99, Amazon)

Yes, hearts of palm are a vegetable, but these days you can find them in the pasta section of your grocery store, with noodles in various shapes like linguine, angel hair, and even lasagna. They have a sharp, almost pungent flavor compared to other pasta substitutes, but that can be toned down by washing them thoroughly or even soaking the noodles in unsweetened almond milk.

Like shirataki noodles, they are lower in calories, fat, carbohydrates, and protein. Their high fiber-to-carb ratio means they won't impact your blood sugar. According to the USDA, half a cup contains 7 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of fiber.

Try These Palm Pasta Hearts

  • Palmini Linguine 6-Pack ($23.88, Amazon)
  • Natural Paradise Angel Hair 6‌Pack ($31.90, Amazon)

What to Look for in a Weight Loss-Friendly Pasta

1. High in Fiber and Protein

When perusing the pasta section of your grocery store, look for products rich in fiber and protein. Noodles that provide at least 5 grams of fiber or 8 grams of protein per 2-ounce serving are an excellent choice.

There are also products that may not meet the above criteria, but are lower in calories (we've already recommended a few). These are also good options, as they can help you stay within your daily calorie limit.

What about the demonized white pasta? Plain pasta still has a place on our plates—even if it doesn't meet the above criteria. It's the whole meal (think: add veggies and lean protein) and the parts of food that can help or hurt your weight loss efforts.

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