Get Playful With Your Pasta Routine

by Ani Mueller, RDN, LD

Last Updated: February 3, 2021

For as long as most of us can remember, pasta has been a go-to meal for busy weeknights. COVID-19 has kept us closer to home this past year, but having quick, nutritious meal ideas at the ready is more important than ever. Consider these tips and new products to boost the nutritional value of your next pasta night.

High-Protein, High-Fiber Alternatives
Fortunately for those with allergies, sensitivities, and personal choices to avoid certain ingredients, there are more “alternative” pasta options than ever.

By now, many health-conscious shoppers are familiar with chickpea pasta from brands like Banza. Mainstream brands like Barilla have even dipped their toes into alternative pastas with Red Lentil and Chickpea options. Keep an eye out for new products in the pasta aisle as the options abound! Some unique finds include:
  1. Explore Cuisine Black Bean Spaghetti boasts an astounding 12g of fiber, 11g net carbs, and 25g protein in just one serving
  2. Made from a konjac flour, a root vegetable high in soluble fiber, Miracle Noodle is truly miraculous, providing zero fat, carbs, and calories
  3. Jovial brand has an impressive line-up of Einkorn wheat and brown rice pasta options and a unique Cassava pasta for grain-free diets
  4. Sea Tangle Noodle Company provides an interesting take on pasta with Kelp Noodles, which provides just 6 calories and 2g carbs in one serving

Mix It Up with Vegetable Noodles
We all know it’s a good idea to eat more vegetables, but sometimes we get in a creative rut about how to increase our veggie intake. Mixing spiralized noodles into your favorite pasta is a great option, providing the best of both worlds – pasta portion control and a bonus serving of vegetables! If you eat a gluten-free diet or are avoiding processed foods, you can substitute in vegetable noodles entirely.
  1. Look for fresh spiralized vegetable noodles in the produce section, as some Kroger stores are carrying options like Cece’s Veggie Noodle Co. Vegetable Spirals.
  2. You can find various veggie spirals from Green Giant and Birds Eye in the frozen aisle, including zucchini, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and even carrot!
  3. If you feel extra adventurous, you can try making your own spiralized vegetables! This is easy and fun and may pique the interest of your kids. Check out this article on the best spiralizers of 2021 to get your noodle on.

Whether you’re using your vegetable noodles in addition to pasta or instead of it, for classic spaghetti and meatballs, or a more specialized dish like Pad Thai, vegetable noodles have a place on every table.

Many things changed with the pandemic, but with work and school, we’re still all crunched for time as much as ever, and we need fast meal solutions to make the most of our time. Next time it’s pasta night at your house, remember all the pasta-bilties!

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Ani Mueller, RDN, LD

Ani Mueller, RDN, LD

Ani is living her dream as a real food dietitian, helping her patients merge the science of nutrition with the art of creating tasty, balanced meals. She competes in the sport of weightlifting and has personal and professional experience in sports nutrition, flexible dieting, and weight loss.