To start, you should know that pasta is part of the food group:
In a balanced diet, these foods have an important place. They provide so-called « complex carbohydrates or sugars » that provide energy that the body is able to use gradually. The speed of passage of these sugars in the blood depends on the food type. The glycemic index is used to rank foods based on their ability to elevate blood sugar (range 0 to 100).
Good to know: When you have a significant and rapid arrival of sugar in the blood (= glycemic peak), your body produces insulin to bring excess sugar into your body’s cells for use or storage. When glycemic peaks become too frequent, this regulation system deteriorates over the years: diabetes can then can appear around the age of 40 years. The body is no longer able to lower the blood sugar level and this will disrupt the functioning of many body organs.
Every day, it is important to limit the glycemic peaks by preferring, as much as possible, foods and dishes with a low glycemic index.
Influence of cooking and preparation
– The shorter the pasta cooking time, the lower the glycemic index: al dente pasta is more slowly digested than overcooked pasta. The satiety feeling will be more sustainable.
– If you do not immediately eat the pasta, you will probably notice that they become harder and dryer: the starch recrystallized. A cold pasta portion, eaten a day after being cooked, has a lower glycemic index than the same pasta just after cooking.
– By eating your pasta with vegetables and/or animal proteins (meat, fish, eggs), their digestion is also slower and therefore the glycemic peak is attenuated.
Season your pasta smartly
Natural pasta is low in calories: 100 g of pasta provides only 125 kcal. But if you add butter, cheese, cream or an industrial sauce full of additives, added sugars, bad fats… the energy intake of your plate will double or even triple!
Some tips to limit calories, if you do not like natural pasta:
– Use plain tomato sauce and season the sauce yourself with herbs, salt, pepper, spices or other dried seasonings (onion, garlic). You can make sauce tasty and without fat.
– At the end of the cooking of your meat, put the pasta in the pan and mix. The pasta will have fats and flavors of the cooked meat. You can do the same with vegetables if you cook them in the pan.
– Avoid/limit the addition of fats: butter, oil, cheese, cream…
Vary the pleasures
Classic dry pasta, whole-wheat, with eggs, fresh pasta, gluten-free … there are many shapes and flavors for all tastes!
– Whole-wheat pasta, made with whole semolina, contains three times more fibers and fills more than white pasta.
– Pasta flavored with vegetables (tomato, spinach) is not more nourishing than white pasta, but brings variety in menus (flavor and colour).
The right quantity
For most of us, pasta has an almost immediate satiating power. That is why, during a meal, it is advisable to eat your vegetable and protein portions in first. Finish your meal with your pasta portion: eat slowly and know how to listen to your body. Stop eating when you are no longer hungry! Normally, we are able to modulate our consumption according to our needs without using a scale. If you cannot to do that, you can refer to these average quantities:
1 serving of pasta for a woman = 60 g of raw pasta (180 g of cooked pasta)
1 serving of pasta for a man = 80 to 100 g of raw pasta (240 to 300 g of cooked pasta)
Choose pasta al dente or cold in salads, eat reasonable quantities and be careful with cooked sauces, cheeses and other high-calorie foods. Opt instead for pasta with homemade tomato sauce, vegetables and protein (meat, fish, egg) for a tasty and balanced dish.
Have you ever eaten fresh pasta? They have a different taste than dry pasta.
While it will take longer than opening a package of pasta, your efforts will be rewarded at mealtime. Guaranteed pleasure!