Whenever we think of Italian dishes like pasta we think of gaining weight, don’t we? Those who want to lose weight might get scared of thinking Italian food even when they love it; after all, these are starchy foods. But the good news is you can still eat it without gaining weight. Isn’t it a great news?
There are few tricks which can help you cut down the unnecessary calories while enjoying these dishes.
1. Get A Plate of Salad
Before you start cooking your pasta, think of a side dish. This might not be much of importance to you but as per Swedish researchers, having a plate of salad can actually lower the after-meal blood glucose levels and boost your satiety. This means when you eat your pasta and increase the blood sugar levels, having few raw vegetables can cut them down. This way it controls the blood glucose and prevent weight gain. Add some dressing to your green salad; a little bit of fat can fulflll your satiety at the same time improve nutrient absorption especially nutrients like lycopene and beta-carotene.
2. Choose The Right Pasta
An average American usually eats 20 pounds of pasta every year and mostly it is made of refined flour. You might have got what’s the point here. This type of pasta usually lacks protein and fiber which are essential for weight loss. We all know very well that fiber keeps us full for longer duration and prevents overeating; thus it is essential for weight loss. So, choose the product wisely that consists of fiber and protein. Opt for bean based noodle or pasta over those refined products. It will also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
3. Prefer Al Dente
Preferring this will both save time and keep your blood glucose levels in control. What is Al Dente by the way? Al dente means food is still firm after cooking. So, this means that you need to turn off the stove a little early and have its now al dente. This will keep you full for longer duration because usually well cooked pasta gets break down easily and converts into carbohydrates into fuel easily which means your blood glucose levels up faster when your pasta is well-cooked. But if you turn off the stove a little early then it will take time to breakdown and will keep the blood glucose levels well-balanced and steady.
4. Eat It Chilled
If you want your pasta not to add your weight then keep it in your fridge. When it cools down and the temperature drops then the chemical nature of the pasta changes and turns into something called resistant starch which promotes fat oxidation as per the journal, “Nutrition and Metabolism”. We know that you didn’t like the idea of eating pasta all chilled; you like eating it hot. Then we have a suggestion for you. Eat a small portion of it when hot and pledge to eat the remaining chilled. This way you will satisfy your taste and will also enjoy its benefits when cold. Do not reheat it later just to lose the weight loss benefits of it.
5. Add More vegetables
The first tip given was to have a plate of salad which are raw vegetables and greens. So, you already know the reason behind of this suggestion. Now why do we want you to add vegetables? According to Penn State researchers, eating vegetables in the main dish rather than as a side dish can make you consume fewer calories. So, consider adding more vegetables to your pasta instead. This will boost your satiety and will add bulk to your main dish. You can consider whole grain spaghetti with sauteed broccoli, peppers, brussel sprouts, onions and tomatoes. If you have a habit of adding meat then replace half of it with some yellow squash, mushrooms and spinach. There are many options to try.
6. Garnish With Cheese
Some of the pasta recipes include lots of cheese along with the sauce. While adding this melts away into the dish and gets invisible and you end up adding more cheese. This should be avoided and instead of adding it while cooking, you can sprinkle some cheese when the pasta is cooked and served in a plate. This way you will get to eat cheese in every bite and satisfy your taste.
7. Time To Change The Meat
Spaghetti carbonara with meat sauce is not really waist friendly since it consists of thick cut bacon as an ingredient which gives about 70 calories and 6g of fat in just 2 slices of bacon. Instead of it if you use the same amount of prosciutto then it will save you 40 calories and 2g of fat. This might not seem much but depending on your portion size the number will change to a bigger difference. You can get a lean ground cut of beef and after browning it in a skillet, place it in a strainer and rinse well with some hot water right before adding sauces and seasonings to remove the excess fat.
8. Reconsider Your Red Sauce
Usually, canned varieties are loaded with calories, salts and sugars and are non-nutritive. So, instead of adding such sauce to your pasta, prepare sauce yourself at home using ingredients like tomatoes, basil, black pepper, olive oil, garlic, etc. However, if you don’t have enough time for that, then you can choose the product wisely by checking the ingredient list and nutritional facts label on the product.
9. Reconsider Your Fat
The market bought products usually are filled with calories and saturated fats which is almost equal to 50 chicken McNuggets and that gives almost half a day’s saturated fat and about 1/3rd of sodium’s requirement. So, is there an alternative? You can make creamy sauce by just combining avocados, garlic, pepper, lemon juice, basil, olive oil and salt in a food processor. This might be laden with fat as well but this is heart healthy that keeps the bad cholesterol low and reduce some stubborn fat in your belly.
10. Spice It Up
Have you heard of Arrabiata sauce before? It can help you lose weight while satisfying your taste. It consists of red chilli peppers which is spicy and consists of appetite suppressing compound, capsaicin. This compound boosts thermogenesis which is the body’s ability to burn food and convert it into energy. This way it keeps the metabolism strong. You can prepare this at home if you think the store bought sauce is too spicy for you. A half cup of it usually consists of 45 calories, 3g sugar and 2 g fat. You can just sprinkle some red chilli flakes on the top before you start munching on the dish.
If you follow these 10 tricks then you can enjoy the delicious Italian dishes like pasta without gaining weight.