Our Love Affair with Noodles
Pasta, in all its comforting forms, is beloved across the globe. From spaghetti and meatballs – to fettuccine alfredo – to macaroni and cheese, we love every insulin spiking, mouthwatering bite.
In fact, the average American consumes over 20 pounds of pasta each year…and, in surveys, pasta was listed as ‘the food I could never give up’ 56% of the time – even beating out chocolate. Noodles have been a staple of many cultures for centuries, and today the affordability of this starchy dish is hard to beat – most pasta sells for only $1.45/pound.
Another reason that we love pasta lies in its incredible flavor versatility. For cheese lovers there are creamy, cheese-centric pastas. For meat lovers there are hearty, meat-enhanced pastas. For vegetarians there are pasta dishes dotted with tender veggies.
For many, pasta is the perfect answer to the age-old question: “What’s for dinner?”
Pasta Consumption and Obesity: Where One Goes, The Other Follows
However, our pasta obsession is not without consequence… Today over 68% of adults, and over 30% of children, are considered to be overweight or obese in the US. These statistics are rapidly increasing in recent years and show no signs of slowing down. As a society we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic with grave repercussions. Could pasta be the culprit?
Traditional pasta is composed primarily of carbohydrates. One cup of noodles contains roughly 390 calories, with 78 grams of simple carbs. Realistically you’d eat two cups of noodles, when pasta is your main dish, so this would put your carb count close to 200 grams, not counting sauce and the remainder of your meal.
You can see that traditional pasta dishes are high in simple carbohydrates and all of these simple carbohydrates are quickly stored on your body as fat. Eliminating meals that are high in carbohydrates is a simple and effective strategy for reducing body fat.
But don’t give up on pasta just yet! Allow me to introduce you to The New Age of Pasta…
Noodles Made From Vegetables: Slash the Calories in Half
With obesity at the forefront of our minds, our traditional pasta dishes are in need of a slimming makeover, and the solution is so simple that you’re likely to get a good chuckle. Why make high-calorie, high-carbohydrate noodles from flour when we can simply and easily make low-calorie, low-carbohydrate noodles from vegetables?
A simple, fresh zucchini, when peeled and run through a spiral slicer, turns into white noodles that are just like the ones you grew up on…only the total calories of the have been slashed in half (or in some cases even lower).
And don’t stop at zucchini: butternut squash, spaghetti squash, asparagus, jicama and cucumbers are all exciting options for healthy noodle production.
Small Changes Make a Big Impact
I’m not suggesting that traditional pasta dishes are solely responsible for the obesity in our society. The toxicity in our food culture extends way beyond simple bowls of starchy noodles. There are the sugar-packed drinks served up at coffee shops. And the fried fast food meals being handed through car windows. And the packaged snacks falling out of vending machines. And the supersized portions that our stomachs have slowly become accustomed to. And the list goes on.
No, pasta isn’t the only problem.
But by making the switch from traditional noodles to noodles made with vegetables you will be taking a step in the right direction. One small step towards shedding those accumulated pounds. One small step towards showing your kids a better way to eat. One small step toward reclaiming your energy. One small step in your quest for good health.
In life very few things change completely overnight…instead, change occurs in degrees.
Could you move the dial a few degrees towards a healthier lifestyle today? How about tomorrow? Another couple of degrees? Keep inching that dial in the direction that you want it to go. Inch by inch by inch.
Before you know it those degrees will add up, and your small changes will have made a big impact.
Now, Let’s Make Some Pasta…
Below are my Top 10 Favorite Veggie Pasta Dishes! Give these a shot and please let me know what you think of the concept of veggie noodles. Enjoy 🙂