Healthy pasta and healthy pasta dishes are not oxymorons. In fact, there are several ways to include pasta dish recipes in a healthy meal.
First, instead of cooking and eating your traditional pasta you can begin to incorporate whole grain and high fiber pastas into your meals. That gives you the benefit of healthy pasta without having to get rid of a traditional ingredient.
Most of the high fiber pastas use whole durum wheat flour, also known as whole semolina flour. This variation of pasta is healthier for having more fiber, sometimes as much as 4 to 8 grams of fiber, and fewer carbohydrates. There is a taste difference that you will notice, but you may be pleasantly surprised at how similar it can be in a healthy pasta dish. Prior to cooking the pasta, you may notice that it is darker and possibly coarser looking than your traditional pasta. After cooking, your whole grain pasta may actually lighten up and appear quite similar. In fact, if you have kids they may not know that you switched pasta.
When eating whole grain or high fiber pasta, you may eat less than your typical meal since it contains the higher fiber content. This makes you feel more satisfied and less likely consume a big portion. When you are eating regular pastas though, you should consciously watch your portion size. Healthy pasta portions will allow you to limit your carb intake while still enjoying the flavor and texture that makes pasta so enjoyable.
In addition to limiting portion sizes for a healthy pasta meal, you should pay close attention to the additional ingredients that you use. For example, some of the heavier sauces and proteins can add significant calories to any pasta dish. You can create sauces with a broth or tomato base instead of a cream sauce for a healthy pasta dish. Vegetables and a simple oil drizzle can make a great sauce without the additional calories. As long as you monitor your portions and the quality of ingredients, you can have a healthy pasta meal.