Healthy Spaghetti and Meatballs

The many myths that circulate in the diet world are enough to make most nutritionists cringe.  One myth that just drives us crazy is the inaccurate belief that pasta makes you fat.  Carbohydrates, including pasta, are necessary not only as your body’s preferred source of energy, but you can not burn fat tissue without carbohydrates (yes, really!!), and the majority of the calories in your diet should come from carbohydrates (roughly 55-65% of total diet should come from carbohydrate calories).  Just keep in mind that carbohydrates are not just foods like rice, cereal, grains, and pasta, but also include fruits and vegetables.

What many do not realize is that white pasta, is in fact, a refined carbohydrate.  Ideally, we should be aiming for non-refined carbohydrates to make up most of our diet.  But thanks to many food manufacturers, we are now seeing the non-refined, or partially refined versions of pasta, making it higher in vitamins, minerals, and the all-desired FIBER!

If you are used to your white pasta and aren’t ready for 100% whole wheat pasta, give Barilla Plus a try. This pasta is made with whole grains, offers extra essential fatty acids, fiber and minerals and tastes pretty good, too!  You can start by mixing half Barilla Plus and half traditional white pasta in the same dish.  Then slowly reduce the white pasta content and increase the whole grain pasta.  Eventually, you will be exclusively Barilla Plus.  Then do the same, if you desire, with Barilla Plus and 100% whole grain pasta.

Here is my take on the traditional
American-Italian favorite, Spaghetti & Meatballs.

1 box Barilla Plus Spaghetti

12 oz. Turkey Meatballs

1 jar of your favorite Spaghetti Sauce (non-meat, preferably)

1 Multi-Grain Baguette (with olive oil for dipping, no butter)

Mixed Green Salad

Fresh Parmesan Cheese

Make pasta according to directions on box.  Simmer sauce with turkey meatballs over medium heat.  Simmer until turkey meatballs are heated thoroughly, (about 8 to 10 minutes).  In the meantime, make a mixed green salad and bake a multi-grain baguette in the oven (again, about 8 to 10 minutes).  Sprinkle fresh Parmesan cheese on spaghetti, turkey meatballs, and sauce.  Enjoy Salad with olive oil and vinegar and dip bread into oil (healthy omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids!)

Just remember, if you are trying to lose a few pounds, eat a lot of salad, not too much oil, and limit your spaghetti to a serving size (about 1 cup, cooked).

And for my fellow Massachusetts and Connecticut locals, Stop and Shop has a fantastic multi-grain baguette you can find in the freezer section.  It is made by their healthy, store brand, “Nature’s Promise” and has about 4 grams of fiber per half baguette!

Another bonus to this meal….you can cook it in less than 15 minutes.  Awesome!


About Kimberly Dawson, M.S.

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