These are exciting times for weight-conscious pasta lovers. Suddenly, there are lots of tasty noodle varieties on the market that are much lower in carbs than traditional wheat pasta.
Black Bean Pasta
Though equal in calories, this exotic-looking black pasta noodle bears little resemblance to the white flour spaghetti you devoured as a child. Black bean pasta is incredibly good for you; one 2-ounce serving boasts 12 grams of belly-filling fiber, 25 grams of protein (more than a 3-oz serving of chicken), and it meets over 1/3 of your daily iron needs. And while regular pasta is notoriously high in refined carbs, thanks to all the fiber in black beans the net carbs per serving drops to just 5 grams.
Made from only two ingredients – soluble fiber and water – these silky noodles are essentially calorie-free, making them a diet-friendly alternative to spaghetti. True, there’s not much to these noodles in terms of vitamins and minerals, but that’s okay when you use them to make a nutrition-packed vegetable stir-fry.
These delicate, low-calorie noodles only contain seaweed and water, yet a 2-ounce serving provides over half of your daily Vitamin K needs plus a healthy boost of calcium and iron. Kelp noodles are lighter than pasta and more versatile in recipes because they really soak up flavorful ingredients.
Comprised of edamame and water, these noodles are a tummy-filling powerhouse that packs 24 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber, and 30 percent of your daily iron needs into a 2-ounce serving. Since fiber and protein digest slowly, a snack or meal with these noodles will leave you feeling full and energized longer.
The ‘spiralizer’ is one of the hottest cooking gadgets around, and for good reason. Attach it to your choice of vegetable and in seconds you’ve got spirals of fresh, flavorful, low-calorie noodles. Grab a zucchini and make your own “zoodles,” or churn out tender cucumber, carrot, sweet potato, parsnip, beet, or eggplant noodles. Season them any way you like, enjoy them raw, steam them, or pop them in the oven or microwave for a quick, healthy treat.
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.