Weight loss tip: Swap your pasta

Weight Loss Tip 145 - Swap your pastaWeight Loss Tip 145 - Swap your pasta

Trade out your favorite pasta noodles with spiraled vegetables.  

Weight Loss Tip 145 - Swap your pasta

Weight Loss Tip 145 – Swap your pasta

Zucchini noodlesWhen eating pasta or any other starchy food such as bread, potatoes, or rice, portion control is a key to avoiding weight gain or losing weight.   Maintaining control your food intakes is a huge part of successful weight loss and the lack thereof is one of the key reasons dieters fail to lose or maintain their loss.  I grew up sitting around a table eating pasta with my father and stepmother.  This habit grew into my adulthood as a meal I shared with my wife and son.  As my metabolism slowed, my intake did not so my waist began to grow.  If you grew up like me and ate pasta as a staple part of your meals, you can replace your noodles with spiraled vegetables and still enjoy the full flavor you grew up eating.  

I have always looked at these little-spiralized vegetables and turn my nose up at them.  The thought of going with vegetables really depressed me.  After losing a large amount of weight about a year ago, I decided to try a package of spiralized sweet potatoes from my local supermarket.  To my surprise. there were delicious.  The texture is more al dente than my normal pasta, but they were tolerable and an incredible substitute for the texture and taste of the pasta that was killing my waistline.  I no longer need relegate the joy of eating pasta to the backburner when you are trying to maintain or lose weight and the best part is that it is as easy as spinning a vegetable in a spiralizer.  The best part is if choose wisely when you spin the spiralizer, the noodles will count toward your green, yellow, and orange vegetable count.   These five veggie-as-pasta subs will give you the real satisfaction of a plate of noodles, even when you’re not on a cheat meal.

The list noodle alternatives from vegetables:

  1. Spaghetti squash: I have listed this one first because it does not require a spiralizer.  Spaghetti squash was the first pasta substitute I tried during a weight loss phase a few years ago.  At a local restaurant, they served it with sauce and parmesan.  It was delicious.  I have made it several times at home and spaghetti squash is easy to make and delivers consistent results once you learn to clean and cook it.  The hardest part is removing it from the squash.  Each cup has 31 calories and 1.5 grams of fiber.  
  2. Carrot noodlesA sweet pasta alternative with a satisfying crunch.  It requires quite a bit of boiling to reduce the crunchiness.  It does require a spiralizer unless you are a professional with a knife which I am not.  I  have found it to go well with an arrabbiata sauce.  The spicy and sweet is perfect together.  A cup of these babies has 60 calories and 4 grams of fiber.  
  3. Cucumber noodles: Spiralized cucumbers are perfect for Asian dishes and Greek salads.  The dressing will cover the flavor of cucumber noodles.  I have never been able to cook them.  They did not end up well, but they are perfect on a salad.  Each cup has 16 calories and about 1 gram of fiber.  
  4.  Sweet potatoes noodles: As I said above, this is the first veggie noodles I tried due to being lucky in finding a coupon.  These are less sweet than carrot noodles.  They go with just about any sauce but are especially good with an arrabbiata sauce.  They are not exactly low calorie with 210 calories per cup but they do have 9 grams of fiber.  
  5. Zucchini noodles or zoodles: Zucchini noodles are the perfect substitute for noodles in my book.  When cooked right, they have a perfect, pasta-like texture.  They go well in both Italian and Asian dishes.  They can be boiled or sauteed with vegetables.  The best part, one cup of these noodles has 20 calories and 1 gram of fiber.  
  6. Eggplant noodles: Eggplant is a decent substitute for noodles.  It would not be my first choice but is a decent option.  Eggplant noodles are higher in fiber and tend to keep you full longer.   I recommend a garlic and onion sauce as a pairing for this faux noodle.  Each cup has 26 calories and 2-3 grams of fiber.  
  7. Butternut squash noodles: These spiralized veggies are very similar to zucchini but sweeter.  They also have a near perfect al dente texture when fried.  I have tried these with just about any sauce but I thinkit goes best with a heavy garlic sauce or an alfredo.  Each cup has 35 calories and 2 grams of fiber.   

The bottom line: Spiralizers allow you to make faux noodles from vegetables that will not break your calorie bank.  They are filling and count toward your veggie count for the day.  Heck, most of them will allow you to have seconds.  

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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