On a Diet? Pasta may be a great choice!
Many people mistakenly believe pasta is fattening or high in cholesterol. Pasta is in fact low in fat because the grains used to make pasta, like wheat and semolina, are low fat. What can make pasta fattening is adding high calorie sauces to your pasta dishes. Although a creamy cheese sauce may be your favorite, it's definitely not a smart choice especially if you are looking to cut calories or cholesterol. Choose
your sauces carefully to reap the most benefit from pasta if you are dieting.
The National Pasta Association offers these tips and meal solutions to help you make healthy choices
• When creating an impromptu pasta dish, remember that "less is more" and limit the number of ingredients that you use. Oil, garlic, crushed tomatoes, fresh basil and hot pepper flakes is one delicious combination.
• Be creative! Toss pasta with a little vegetable oil, tomato or broth for a simple sauce.
• Try a no-cook sauce by marinating tomatoes, chopped fresh mozzarella and fresh basil leaves in a little oil. Toss with hot pasta for a quick, delicious meal.
• Keep fresh herbs on hand as a quick and easy way to add a lot of flavor. Basil, which has a very fresh, delicate flavor, is best added to sauces at the last minute to maximize its flavor. Rosemary is woody, so it's especially suited to cream sauces and earthy ingredients, like mushrooms. Because sage is so pungent, it stands up well in heartier pasta dishes with veal and pork.
• Use a blender or a juicer to create your own combinations of vegetable purees. Then just bring to a simmer with your favorite herbs and spices and toss with pasta.
• Instead of meat, try adding vegetables to a light tomato sauce for a plenty of flavor and crunch.
• Add leftover pasta to your favorite soup. If you use dry pasta, simmer the soup for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.
• Use fruit to balance spicy dishes. Tropical fruits like mangoes and pineapple temper hot flavors, and balance and brighten, as well. Apples work well with curries, and bananas add a delicious counterpoint to hot chili peppers.
• Double your favorite recipes, and freeze the extra servings for later use. This works especially well with sauces and baked pasta dishes like lasagna.
• Use only small amounts of vegetable oils, margarine and vegetable cooking spray when preparing pasta dishes.
For more great tips on pasta, check out the American Pasta Association website: www.ilovepasta.org.