Don’t give up your favorite quick dinners! Smart ingredient swaps and sensible portions make pasta a delicious part of your better-for-you meal plan.
Pasta needn’t be off-limits for people with diabetes. And thank goodness: It makes for a quick and easy supper on even the busiest night. The key to making pasta part of your smart meal plan? Balance it with some protein and veggies, and keep portions under control. These tips and recipes will help you cover the bases.
Upgrade your pasta.
You may have already made the switch from white bread to whole wheat (for more fiber). Time to do the same with your pasta. If you or your kids don’t like the flavor of whole wheat pasta, try one made with whole grain white flour. Some brands also add protein and/or heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Measure portions properly.
A single serving of pasta is about a 1/2 cup or the size of a single scoop of ice cream. If you’re having lean meat or chicken with your pasta, the portion of meat should be no bigger than the size of your palm.
Add in some veggies.
Our Parmesan, Chicken & Broccoli Pasta serves up your “side dishes” as part of the entrée. In this case, tomatoes and broccoli are mixed right in with the pasta and meat.
Skip deep-fat frying.
The chicken in Chicken Parmesan with Rotini gets its crunch from a Ritz cracker coating. We sautéed the chicken breasts in a hot skillet coated with nonstick spray, so there isn’t even any oil used in the dish. Making this simple switch—along with using reduced fat mozzarella instead of the full-fat kind—saves 100 calories and 13 grams of fat per serving.
Use leaner meats.
In our Updated Fettuccine Carbonara, OSCAR MAYER Smoked Ham replaces the bacon normally used in this classic dish. We also traded ingredients like egg yolks and cream for Philadelphia 1/3 Less Fat than Cream Cheese to create a still creamy but better-for-you sauce. The savings per serving: 80 calories and 16 grams of fat.
Try “veggie spaghetti.”
Spaghetti squash makes a great alternative to pasta. Simply cook it up, scoop it out, and top it with your favorite jarred or homemade tomato sauce. You’ll find spaghetti-squash cooking directions with our Cheesy Spaghetti Squash recipe. This winter squash is in peak season from September until March.