Do you love pasta but avoid it for weight loss?
There’s something about the soft, tender noodles that is so satisfying. So, you know I love pasta and noodles. I grew up with rice and noodles as a staple for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And if you’re like my coaching clients, you enjoy them too….but maybe think you can’t have them if you’re trying to lose weight?
That’s not true. As you’ve heard me say, the simplest way to explain weight loss is calorie in and calories out, so eating less than your body needs. The concept it simple, like to get abs, just work out- but you know there’s so much more than just doing crunches. It’s about how much you eat, what you pair it with, how it truly makes you and your body feel after, and how it keeps you staying full.
If you’re ordering pasta at a restaurant, you get an entire plate of pasta and that amount is more than you’d eat if you made it at home and what happens afterwards it likely 1) youre too full and uncomfortable 2) you feel like you food coma (so, sluggish and tired and maybe sleepy) and 3) considering the amount of pasta you ate, you might feel like you’re hungry a few hours later, how does that make sense?!- does this sound familiar?
Truth is, you can eat pasta and still lose weight. Eating a lot of pasta and white pasta can cause your blood sugars to rise and our body doesn’t like it. This causes us to feel good once we eat it and then get food coma soon after. You can learn more about blood sugar and carbs (specifically bread) in my video here.
How you can prevent the 3 symptoms post-pasta and to lose weight is by doing these 3 things:
1) Cooking pasta al dente. Al dente is italina and it means “to the tooth”, so there’s some bite to your pasta. It’s not raw but just cooked enough so there’s still some resistence to it when you bite it. The reason for this is when you cook pasta al dente, it lowers the glycemic index in food. Glycemic index is the number that tells you how fast that carb containing food enters into your blood stream. If the glycemic index number is high, then your it will go into your blood stream quickly and cause you to crash quickly, too. The lower the glycemic index, the better. So, for al dente cooked pasta vs soft pasta, the glycemic index is lower, so it’s better to prevent crashes or food coma.
2) Choosing bean, whole grain, or white pasta with added fiber. Bean pastas are an excellent choice because they have the added benefit of extra protein from beans (like chickpeas or blackbeans) PLUS, the fiber. So, if you’re vegetarian or your pasta has low/no protein, bean pasta is a great choice. Whole grain and white pasta with added fiber is also a good option because of the added fiber- again, the added fiber slows down digestion and puts the pasta at a lower glycemic index- preventing crashing and keeping you fuller and more satisfied. White pasta with added fiber is a great option because it tastes and looks like white pasta.
3) Bulk up your pasta with veggies. Pasta is served without veggies, but the veggies are a low calorie way to keep you feeling full, because it add water, fiber, and volume. Start with a large side salad before your pasta dish and use a vinaigrette dressing instead of a creamy- which is usually higher in fat and calories. Or if you’re making pasta at home, add veggies to your sauce. You can buy or spiralizer your own veggies like zucchini, carrots, bell peppers to make it look like noodles and add bulk. You can also just chop them up and add them to your sauce, but the spiralized look can be more fun to eat with your pasta.
These 3 tips can help you manage you stay fuller, longer and prevent crashing to get you to your weight loss goals. Pasta and noodles can be enjoyed as part of your weight loss journey!
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