Americans have a serious love affair with pasta. Unfortunately, we rarely eat it like the Italians do-in small portions with light sauces-but in dinner plate-sized piles swimming in creamy or high-fat sauce. And the calories add up, sometimes to almost a full day's worth, not to mention the off-the-chart amounts of sat fat and sodium many contain. Here, are seven of the worst offenders-and healthier options that scratch your pasta itch without sending you into a carb-induced coma.
10 Smart Food Swaps for a Flatter Belly
1. Ridiculous: Spaghetti Bolognese with Meatballs "Bolognese" usually denotes meat sauce, but a few more meatballs added in can really start to ratchet up the calories, saturated fat, and sodium. One plateful can contain almost a full day's worth of calories, plus nearly 4,000 mg of sodium.
Ridiculously Healthy: Our take on spaghetti Bolognese is made with "no-salt" tomato sauce, cutting the sodium to only about 150 mg per serving.
2. Ridiculous: Lasagna With its several layers of pasta, full-fat mozzarella, and sodium-filled sauce, it can contain over 1,300 calories and almost 3,000 mg of sodium in just one serving.
Ridiculously Healthy: Try these lasagna bundles instead. This dish is made with nonfat ricotta and antioxidant-rich tomato sauce, plus it's portion controlled for you.
3. Ridiculous: Ravioli These pasta pockets are often filled with an array of cheeses and herbs and covered in a thick, rich sauce. Request ravioli at a restaurant and you could be eating half your day's allotted calories.
Ridiculously Healthy: Our ravioli is a snap to whip up and comes in under 300 calories per serving.
4. Ridiculous: Pasta Alfredo Alfredo sauce is the epitome of creamy decadence. This white sauce is traditionally made with a trio of heavy ingredients: cream, butter, and Parmesan cheese. If you order this traditional dish at a restaurant, your pasta will most likely be swimming in sauce and 50 g of fat.
Ridiculously Healthy: Swap in this recipe next time you are craving alfredo - it's made with whole wheat fettuccine and brimming with veggies like broccoli, peas, and tomatoes.
5. Ridiculous: Seafood Linguine Shrimp, crabmeat, lobster, and pasta all tossed together in a super-buttery sauce can make your mouth water (and your waistline expand). One helping accounts for 1,000-plus calories and 50 g of fat.
Ridiculously Healthy: This pasta dish is light and delicious. The recipe calls for some garlic and margarine to bring out the flavors of the fresh shrimp and lobster. All of that adds up to a scale-friendly 353 calories.
6. Ridiculous: Pesto Pasta Pesto is super simple to make: Basil, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil are the main components of this sauce, but some recipes add their own fattening flair by tossing in mayonnaise or cream cheese to the mix.
Ridiculously Healthy: This pesto sauce may stick to the basics, but the flavor of fresh basil is far from boring. This dish also has shrimp, tomatoes, and red bell peppers, amounting to only 9 g of fat.
7. Ridiculous: Pasta Primavera Primavera dishes are made with fresh produce, but some recipes call for a creamy white sauce to dress the dish and super-buttery veggies, making it a deceptive diet disaster.
Ridiculously Healthy: Our version has beta carotene-rich carrots, antioxidant-rich basil, and a kick of metabolism-revving red-pepper for only 315 calories and less than 6 g of fat per serving.
What pasta shape do you prefer: long noodles or short tubes?
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