4 Ways to Make Your Pasta Dinner Healthier
With a little creativity, a pasta dinner can be a versatile, healthy meal that also comes with plenty of leftovers! Keep reading for some of our top tips and recipe ideas.
1. Add more veggies – Veggies are of course a great way to boost the nutrition profile of your pasta dinner, but when used appropriately they can really boost the flavor of your sauce! An easy way to add in extra veggies is to simply throw some in a pan with a little olive oil and salt, sautee them, and mix them in with your sauce. For this method, we like using zucchini, fresh spinach or asparagus! As you’ll see below, you can also sneak in veggies with a homemade pasta sauce or as a noodle alternative. To get you started, we’ve listed some of our favorite veggie-rich pasta recipes below!
2. Swap your noodles - There are a variety of noodle variations on the market today that can instantly elevate the nutrition profile of your pasta dinner. Looking for more protein? Try swapping in a chickpea or lentil pasta. Looking for more veggies and/or lower carbohydrates? Toss in some spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles (“zoodles”). If you don’t have a zoodle maker at home, you can also find these in the frozen section of your grocery store. Pro tip- if you’re like us and can’t bear to cut out pasta entirely, try mixing in a portion of your favorite spaghetti noodles with the zoodles or spaghetti squash to preserve the true pasta taste and texture, while still reaping the benefits of added vegetables and reduced carbs! Finally, swapping in whole wheat pasta will give you extra fiber so you feel fuller more quickly – in other words, less tempted to go back for seconds!
3. Mix in a lean protein - The options are endless here! Adding extra protein can help take your dish from a side to a hearty meal. Try browning up some extra lean ground turkey to mix in with your favorite sauce, or grill up some chicken breasts that you can cut up and mix in for a chunkier addition. (You can even use leftover chicken from a weekend grill-out if you have it!) If you’re vegetarian, try swapping in chickpea or lentil pasta.
4. Whip up a homemade sauce - Whether you’re having trouble tracking down your favorite jar of pasta sauce at the grocery store or just looking to experiment more in the kitchen, a homemade sauce can be a great option! Making your sauce at home will allow you to control ingredients such as salt, fat and sugar that can quickly derail your “healthy” meal when sourcing from a premade sauce. We’ve included some of our favorite online recipes below to give you some ideas!
We hope this post gave you some new ideas on ways to make your pasta meal healthier! Did you try any of these out this week? Let us know in the comments below!