The key to a healthy diet is balance, a good balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates… if you’re anything like us, you may find yourself calling favorites on the carb front, especially when it comes to pasta. Pasta is undeniably one of the nation’s favorite sources of carbohydrates, and though we think of it as an Italian invention it actually originated in China, taken to Italy by Marco Polo. Enough of the history lesson, we’re here to talk alternatives to pasta, whether you’re looking for something a little lower in carbs, a way to boost your vegetable intake or just to make mealtimes more exciting there’s a pasta alternative for you. At NetCost we’ve been exploring alternatives to our beloved pasta and have brought together our favorite ideas to inspire your next meal!
Zoodles aka Zucchini noodles: Vegetables are an important part of a balanced diet, despite knowing that, many of us find it difficult to hit the daily recommended target of 2 ½ cups vegetables for Women or 3 Cups for men*… Social media, especially Instagram and Pinterest, have been overflowing for a couple of years now with healthier alternatives to carb-tastic products, with zoodles being at the forefront of the movement and we’ve got news for you, the trend isn’t set to leave anytime soon. Luckily Zoodles are easy to make at home, are packed full of vitamins and antioxidants and can be swapped into your favorite meals such as spaghetti bolognese or stir fry! Invest in an inexpensive “spiralizer” for the traditional slender spaghetti look, use a vegetable peeler for a wider noodle, or even a simple grater for shorter zoodles!
Quinoa Pasta: The superfood quinoa is a favorite in the health food world and is now being made into a great alternative to traditional pasta. The grain is high in iron and protein, and it won’t give you that spike in blood sugars that comes with regular processed pasta. Quinoa will keep you fuller for longer and works with all your favorite pasta dishes and sauces!
Spinach Noodles: Spinach noodles are delicious. For the most part, they contain a similar carbohydrate amount to regular spaghetti and noodles, however, they do tend to have more protein and fiber! Spinach noodles work especially well with Asian inspired dishes and can be homemade or store bought! For vegetarians and vegans, spinach noodles are a great source of extra protein.
Squash Spaghetti: Squash is delicious, filling and super simple to turn into a pasta substitute. It only takes minimal effort, a good quality olive oil, and a little garlic to turn squash into the perfect side dish for many meals. All you need to do is chop the squash in half and remove the seeds, bake cut side down for 35-45 minutes, then use a fork to gently scrape out spaghetti like strands. Season with olive oil, salt and a touch of minced garlic, being healthy never tasted so good!
Brown Rice Pasta: On the surface, this pasta looks exactly like the ‘real thing’, in fact, it pretty much is, you cook it the same way and it tastes the same! The only difference is there is no wheat in this alternative pasta making it a great option for those who are gluten intolerant. As the name suggests it’s made with rice!
*Adults aged between 19 – 30 years old, who undertake less than 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily according to United States Department of Agriculture