four tips to make it healthier


There are many pasta recipes that are part of our daily life, but we do not always talk about particularly healthy recipes, despite the good reputation it usually enjoys. The problem, He is generally not associated with his simple consumption, but with his fellow travelers.

Added to this is that often we don’t measure exactly the proportions we cook, greatly exceeding the more or less usual and recommended limits which would be around 90 or 100 grains of cooked pasta per person. It also happens that even with apparently simple recipes, we manage to add a lot of calories to the preparation without even realizing it.

There are a lot of them, as we can see, especially calorie recipes. Where cheese, cream and some dairy products come into play, we can be clear that we are going to increase the percentage of calories on our plate at the expense of fats, generally saturated. It is not comparable to grating a little parmesan at the end of the dish with the aeration of a few plates of carbonara pasta.

Same battle that can be waged when incorporating which dishes which proteins, it is also very common to fall into certain high frequency elements in the world of ready meals such as sausages, chorizo, bacon or bacon and add it to our recipe to make it tastier. Again, you’re cheating on your own with a dish that might be healthy, but as you add sides, you’re pushing up that calorie count.

Special mention, it should also be remembered that many dishes end increase the number of calories, sugars and salt to the detriment of sauces, usually pre-made and pre-cooked, that the only thing they end up giving us is flavor (welcome, but not at any price) and that alarming amount of added sugars and salts.

Pasta recipes: how to make them healthier in four steps

Gnocchi are particularly high-calorie pasta because they contain flour and mashed potatoes. © Freepik.

It does not matter what type of pasta we are talking about, at least that is what we mean by the shape or even the previous state. We can talk about dry, fresh pasta, but also long or short, the important thing, whether it’s spaghetti, macaroni, noodles, rigatoni, tortellini, ravioli… The important thing is control what we serve them with and how much we cook.

In addition, we have opened a melon, the one with fresh pasta, which in addition to containing flour, is usually also made with eggs, which will be denser, more protein and tasty, but it will also be more caloric. Moreover, it is much more satisfying than dry. Let’s not fall into the trap of gnocchi either, a preparation that mixes flour and mashed potatoes and which is already high in calories. If we want to lose weight or lose weight, gnocchi is in the boggy ground.

The other melon in question is that of stuffed pasta, in this case we are not going to mention cannelloni or lasagna dishes, only that they already come with a filling inside such as tortellini, ravioli, the capeletti, the agnolotti and other similar is that at the end there is also including calories, carbohydrates, fats and usually when pre-made, a large amount of salts.

The benefits of pasta salads and resistant starch

We’ve talked to you on other occasions about what resistant starch means, and how you can get it when cooking pasta. Essentially, what we get with resistant starch is that these recipes are lower in calories and have some of their carbs converted to fiber, instead of remaining carbs that raise our blood sugar levels.

A salad with puntalette, spinach, cheese and tomato
With salad recipes, we manage to increase the amount of resistant starch.©Freepik.

For this reason, pasta salads in which we first cook the pasta and then cool it are a perfect option to add fewer calories to our diet and without renouncing to enjoy it. In addition, it is quite common that these salads give us some fresh freedom to add fewer calories to the preparation. Something that is common when preparing hot dishes where we generally seek the complicity of melting cheeses to give power to sauces.

Pasta yes, but integral

A wooden tray with several whole, uncooked fusilli
Integral options will always be more recommended. © Freepik.

No matter what type of flour you want to cook, refined wheat flour will always be lower in calories and healthier than whole wheat flour. It doesn’t matter if it’s cookies, biscuits, bread, pastries of all kinds, bagels, pizza dough… obviously it will also happen to our pasta. If it’s whole grains, which have fewer carbs, a bit more protein, more minerals, and better unsaturated fats than usual, we will do our body a small favor with little effort.

Does that mean the full version is the panacea and can I steal it just because it’s full length? No way. Pasta in a healthy nutritional pyramid should not be consumed more than twice a week, thus alternating with other elements such as chickpeas, lentils and beans (legumes, in general) or the potato itself. Despite everything, the day you treat yourself, favor the integral before the white.

Even so, we are aware that the integral option is not as common as the massive white option and Plus, it’s usually more expensive than its refined flour counterpart. This means that the most important thing when we cook them is to measure the quantities well and associate them with a serving size, don’t go overboard or make more pasta or sauce than necessary or leave the will so we can keep adding it to the plate.

Respect the measure of the cheese

Plate of Spaghetti Carbonara with Bacon, Egg and Cream.
It is advisable not to abuse dairy products, especially fat, in this type of recipe. © Freepik.

We know our Italian friends are addicted to cheese, we can’t deny it and we can’t blame them either. We are talking about a country where parmesan, pecorino, grana padano, mozzarella, burrata, ricotta, taleggio, gorgonzola abound… With such an arsenal, it was obvious that our transalpine neighbors were going to be glued to the cheese in your recipes. In any case, this does not mean giving up both at the same time, but let’s see how to do it.

On this occasion, if we are looking for healthier pasta than the recipes we make at home, less caloric or heavy, and which have to go through cheese, let’s at least look for softer cheeses: more protein, with less fat without saturated and lighter. This gives us the ban on finding fresh or soft cheeses which, as a general rule, they will be cheeses with fewer calories and less saturated fat. Take note of these low salt cheeses for your recipes.

We are talking about ricotta, mozzarella, stracchino or burrata itself, but always in moderation. Out of the equation, let’s leave the cream. If we are preparing a typical alfredo sauce or if we feel like a fake Spanish carbonara (with cream), we should eliminate this type of preparation because of the amount of calories it contains. In any case, if you can’t resist cheating with this type of sauce from time to time, try to make it with the least greasy cream possible or even replace the cream with Greek yogurt.

More protein, fewer calories

A whole wheat pasta salad with lettuce, egg, olives and tuna.
You can add lean proteins to these recipes at the expense of eggs, shellfish and fish, even canned. © Freepik.

Pasta can be a perfect vehicle for making complete dishes in which all the macronutrients are present and also we don’t fall into the trap of increasing the calorie count. Although it may seem like a contradiction, the reality is that depending on the type of protein we add, we can benefit from its presence, but without multiplying the calorie problem. If we bet on eggs, remember that is the healthiest and healthiest way to cook them.

Perhaps in Spanish cuisine the making pasta recipes whose protagonists are fish or shellfish, Plus, it means leaving a bit more cash as these are usually more expensive items than the meat we have on hand. In any case, some smoked fish options are also perfect for this type of preparation.

Even so, if we bet on lean proteins like those found in beef, rabbit or chicken, and supplement them with those that can come from any type of fish or shellfish (mussels, clams, prawns, prawns, calamari…), we can obtain very satiating, very balanced dishes where the percentage of calories is not as high as our usual pasta recipes. This includes adding certain preserves, such as tuna, salmon, bonito, mussels or squid.

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