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Healthy Pasta Choices

Everyone loves pasta, but it's an easy food to love too much if you are watching your health and waistline. That isn't to say that you shouldn't have any. Pasta, especially the fortified ones, provide essential nutrients and necessary carbs. The keys are moderation and making the right selections.

Dry and frozen pastas are easy to make and satisfying. The dry pastas will keep in your pantry for a very long time so they have that going for them too. Pasta connoisseurs barely consider the dried varieties as deserving of the name and may not be too impressed by anything out of the freezer. For the true experience you need to make your own, so I will get to that with an easy recipe below.

In the meantime, here is the basic nutrition info on some of the most popular prepared varieties so you can see how they stack up. I did select the "healthiest" offerings in each, even though the processing and added chemicals used in them may not be the best.

Mueller's Veggie Spaghetti

  • Calories: 200
  • Total Fat: 1g
  • Sodium: 0
  • Carbohydrate: 41g
  • Protein: 7g

Barilla Veggie Spaghetti 

  • Calories: 200
  • Total Fat: 1g
  • Sodium: 0
  • Carbohydrate: 41g
  • Protein: 8g

Ronzoni Garden Delight Spaghetti 

  • Calories: 190
  • Total Fat: 1g
  • Sodium: 15mg
  • Carbohydrate: 40g
  • Protein: 7g

Buitoni Angel Hair Pasta 

  • Calories: 230
  • Total Fat: 2g
  • Sodium: 150mg
  • Carbohydrate: 43g
  • Protein: 10g

Homemade Fresh Pasta Recipe

Ingredients

1 egg, beaten 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup all-purpose flour* 2 tablespoons water

Directions

In a medium sized bowl, combine flour and salt. Make a well in the flour, add the slightly beaten egg, and mix. Mixture should form a stiff dough. If needed, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons water.

On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for about 3 to 4 minutes. With a pasta machine or by hand roll dough out to desired thinness. Use machine or knife to cut into strips of desired width.

Cook fresh pasta in boiling, salted water. Fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried pasta. Start testing it for the desired al dente texture after two to three minutes and then every minute afterward until you get the right "bite" of perfectly cooked pasta. Drain the pasta well and toss with sauce immediately.

*For gluten-free, whole wheat, or other flours you may need to experiment a bit to get the right texture in your finished pasta.

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