The great majority of people are always looking to improve their overall eating patterns and make more informed food choices; and with all kinds of low-calorie, fast fix diets clogging your newsfeed and competing for your attention, the idea of digging down into that big bowl of linguine might sound more like a “cheat day food” than a healthy meal choice. Negative buzz words like carbs, calories and gluten might have you feeling a bit panicked and asking the question: is there room for pasta in a healthy food plan?
The short answer is absolutely! Here are a few fast facts that’ll put your pasta-hungry stomach at ease.
1. Not all carbs are created equal.
Potato chips, refined breads and cereals: danger zone. These foods have been processed and therefore stripped of their natural nutrients: in other words, the useful stuff. In contrast, complex carbs like pasta have a chemical structure that are harder to digest, and as a result give your body slow releasing, valuable energy. The glucose found in complex carbs gives your brain and muscle fuel.
2. Trust the Experts, Not the Trends.
While fad diets always seem to be vilifying one food group or collection of foods. In contrast, the Canada Food Guide, informed by scientists and dieticians, offers a much more inclusive eating plan. CFG recommends 6 to 7 servings of grain products per day, with emphasis on choices that are lower in fat, sugar and salt. Pasta is a low glycemic food, which means its blood sugar friendly. It’s also (double score) low in sodium and cholesterol free.
3. Low Fat = Low Energy.
If you’ve ever tried to find success with a results-oriented food plan, you might have felt one of the following: discouraged, disgruntled, or hungry. One study found that 95 percent (you heard it right) of dieters won’t be able to lose weight and keep it off. Low calorie foods are often high sugar and nutrient poor, which leaves you feeling hungry faster and can lead to overeating or poor food choices. In contrast, the nutrient rich whole and enriched grains found in pasta keep you feeling full a lot longer, which can prevent those nasty food cravings (and mood swings).
4. The Perfect Pairing is Key.
The key to success in food just like in our schedules is balance. Any food eating in excess can be a danger zone. Too much of your favourite fruits can send your blood sugar skyrocketing, and too many heart-healthy nuts can be high in fat. So it is with pasta. Think of pasta as the foundation for your healthy, nutritious and satisfying meal. Add in some fibre-filled, Ontario greens like kale or broccoli to stretch the family dollar further. Then add some local free range chicken, or grass fed beef, and voila! Meal magic. Need some more inspiration? Check out our seasonal summer recipes.