It's hard to resist a hot, perfectly sauced bowl of pasta dusted with
fresh cheese. The only thing spoiling this culinary picture is the white
flour used in traditional pasta, which is a refined carb that isn't
good for our health. Stripped of fiber and some nutrients, white flour
can cause blood sugar spikes, and eating too many of these refined carbs
over time can lead to a higher risk of disease and obesity. But we can
have our capellini and eat it too, thanks to several alternatives to white-flour
pasta. While some of these pastas still have high carb counts, they are
complex carbohydrates, which are more beneficial to our health. And except
for the whole-wheat pasta, these noodles are all gluten free.
This retains all the good stuff from wheat, such as the bran and the wheat
germ. That gives it more fiber, as well as more nutrients such as phosphorus
Like whole-wheat flour, brown rice also retains its fiber. That helps lower
cholesterol, controls blood sugar and keeps us feeling fuller longer.
It's got the fiber, as well as a good helping of protein. It's
often blended with corn, brown rice or other whole-grain flours.
This pasta hits the double digits when it comes to grams of protein and
fiber; several brands of black bean pasta have lower carb counts than
other pasta alternatives. For some people, the black color of the noodles
may take some getting used to.
Like black beans, this is a legume-based option. It can have a little less
fiber than black bean pastas, but the protein is still there, as is iron--a
2-oz. serving has 30 percent of our daily iron requirement.
Want to stick to a diet of whole foods? (Some grain or legume varieties
may use additives such as tapioca starch or xanthan gum as binding agents.)
Make from-scratch noodles from vegetables. Cucumber, spaghetti squash,
sweet potatoes, zucchini and carrots can all be used for noodles. Spiralizers
produce long spaghetti-like noodles. Don't have one handy? Use a vegetable
peeler or mandoline for flatter, wider noodles.
Yes, seaweed. Kelp-based noodles may not have protein or fiber like others
listed here, but they make up for that with a minimal amount of carbs
Derived from a yam-like plant, shirataki has a fiber called glucomannan.
It's got zero calories and very low carbs--as low as zero net carbs,
depending on the brand. While some shirataki noodles come in flavored
varieties such as spinach and garlic and herb, the plain version is flavorless,
which means it absorbs the flavors of sauces well.
Do you have a favorite type of noodle? Share your comments with us.