From low-fat recipes to recipes designed for persons with diabetes, Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, shares recipes and advice to create healthy meals that are guaranteed to please. [Editor's note: Elaine no longer contributes to Silver Planet, but we have made her archived blog entries available as a service to our readers.]
There’s never been a better time to switch to whole grains. You can pick from several brands of whole grain or whole grain–blend pastas. You can even find whole wheat lasagna noodles in some supermarkets. If you’re just starting to venture into whole grain pasta, start with Barilla Plus—it looks and tastes the most like white pasta—and graduate to the 100% whole grain brands when you are ready.
Switching to whole grain pasta not only boosts the fiber in your meal, it also adds a cornucopia of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. A typical serving of whole wheat pasta (2 ounces dry) contributes the following:
While you are in the dried pasta aisle, you might want to venture over to the bottled pasta sauces. Stick to the red sauces, preferably those that use olive oil or canola oil. If you are buying a bottled or frozen pesto sauce, make sure it contains olive oil or canola oil as well.
Here’s a pesto sauce tip: To help make a little bit of this sauce go further, add some fat-free half-and-half to make a light but creamy pesto sauce and heat it in a nonstick saucepan or frying pan.
If you're limiting your sodium intake—to 1,500 milligrams to 2,000 milligrams, perhaps?—the bottled sauces are going to be a diet killer. Some brands and flavor options use less sodium than others do. Check out stores like Whole Foods for alternative brands that use less sodium. When you find a product you like, buy a few jars so you have plenty on hand.
Pasta night is great for busy weeknights because dinner is ready in the time it takes to boil the pasta. While it’s boiling, you can get the sauce and salad ready.
If you want to add some meat or fish to your bottled marinara sauce, some convenient options are turkey or soy meatballs (available precooked in the frozen food section of most supermarkets) or cooked and frozen shrimp and prawns.
By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
The Recipe Doctor Blog