Defending Whole Grain Pasta

3 Apr

Pasta. For many a poor student, it is a vital, staple food.

Ever since I moved out on my own 5 years ago, I’ve been buying whole wheat pasta. Always. I never buy the white stuff, even when it’s on super sale.

In second year, one of my roommates basically implied that it was a dumb move and I was getting ripped off. Yes, the package of whole wheat pasta is smaller, and costs the same or more as the white pasta. I’ve actually heard this from many roommates! While I admit that the pricing is stupid, you don’t need to eat as much whole wheat pasta because it is higher in fiber and therefore more filling (so you use much less of it!).  I also don’t think you can put a price on health.

Just because white pasta is a grain, does not mean it is healthy. White pasta is more processed, and has had much more of the nutrients stripped from it, it’s also less filling, and is digested quicker, so it doesn’t keep you full for as long. Did you know that per serving, whole grain pasta delivers almost twice as much fiber as white?? Yeah. Fiber is AWESOME, it helps keep you fuller for longer, cleans out your digestive system, and helps protect against heart disease by decreasing your cholesterol levels. Whole grains are also great for people with diabetes since white pasta is made up of simple carbohydrates, which cause your blood sugar to rise and insulin levels to spike. What does an insulin spike do? Tells your cells to start taking up glucose from the blood – fat cells too. That causes fat cells to grow! (in a nutshell)

Yes. It costs a bit more per pound.. but you eat less of it, and it’s better for you.

So whole grain pasta is healthier for you – but that doesn’t mean you should pile your plate up with it!! Once I started learning about healthy eating, I was amazed to find out that one serving of pasta is one half cup. How many of us grew up with spaghetti dinners?? I don’t know about you, but when we had spaghetti for dinner, we filled our plate with it! we didn’t have a vegetable side dish on spaghetti night!

Does this look familiar??

Now I usually have 1/2 cup of cooked pasta on my plate with lots of sauce, and usually a salad or some steamed veggies on the side. Remember that a balanced meal includes half a plate of veggies, one quarter plate of whole grains, and a quarter plate of protein

Don’t like the taste of whole grain pasta?? Try mixing white and whole wheat pasta (half and half) and gradually reducing the amount of white pasta you use. You will get used to it.

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One Response to “Defending Whole Grain Pasta”

  1. rovisi April 3, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    I like rice-based pasta. Half the calories!

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