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We've all been there, you are on a diet and you banish pasta from your diet. But, who doesn't love a delicious bowl of pasta? But how do we make it a bit healthier?
Italy has dominated the world through its gastronomy: pasta, pizzas, antipasti, risottos and desserts such as tiramisu, and ravioli, are all part of Italian delicacies. There is a theory that pasta originated in China, and Marco Polo introduced it to European cuisine on one of his trips. Regardless of that, we all love a comforting bowl of pasta that immediately transports us to Italy.
Stuffed pasta probably dates back to medieval times, and the dishes belonging to this family occupy an important place in the Italian culinary tradition. According to some publications, the common basis of all preparations of this type of pasta was the use of leftovers, so recipes varied according to family, resulting in thousands of variations.
Commonly the ravioli are filled with meat or ricotta and spinach, mushrooms, cottage cheese or any vegetables.
To make a bowl of pasta a bit healthier, follow these simple tips:
1. Load it with vegetables: broccoli, roasted peppers, tomatoes, arugula. Any veg you like will provide volume and fiber and make that pasta dish a bit more nutritive.
2. Don't go heavy on creams and store-bought sauces. A simple tomato sauce will be much healthier than a cream-based one. It's also super quick and easy to make and you will have full control of the ingredients. No preservatives, salt, and hidden sugars in sight!
3. Choose whole-wheat. Or buckwheat, lentil, spelt pastas. The less refined the better, as they will be lower in GI (glycemic index) and will keep you fuller for longer.
4. Cook al dente. Italian grandmothers have done so for centuries. But beyond the tradition, pasta cooked al dente takes longer to digest, maintaining your blood sugar more stable.
5. Watch portion size. The most obvious one, yes, but so tempting to ignore. Try getting smaller plates and bowls. It's been shown to work wonders in portion control. Having a giant plate with a tiny bit of pasta in the middle (even if it's a full portion) is not nearly as satisfying.