Breads and Pastas
Pasta is a perfect foundation for healthy, nutritious and satisfying meals: pasta is generally eaten with nutrient-dense food partners, such as fiber-filled vegetables and beans, heart healthy fish and mono-unsaturated oils, antioxidant rich tomato sauce and protein-packed cheeses, poultry and lean meats. Pasta offers:
SUSTAINED ENERGY: Carbohydrates like pasta provide glucose, the crucial fuel for your brain and muscles. Pasta is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, which provide a slow release of energy. Unlike simple sugars that offer a quick, yet fleeting boost of energy, pasta helps sustain energy.
LOW SODIUM and CHOLESTEROL-FREE: Pasta is very low in sodium and cholesterol-free. Per cup, enriched varieties provide a good source of several essential nutrients, including iron and several B-vitamins. Whole wheat pasta can provide up to 25% of daily fiber requirements in every one cup portion.
FOLIC ACID: Enriched pasta is fortified with folic acid – essential for women of child-bearing age. FDA regulations require enriched grain products to contain this important vitamin. A serving of dry pasta supplies the equivalent of roughly 100 micro-grams of folic acid, or 25% of the recommended daily intake.
BALANCED DIET: Pasta is part of a well-balanced diet. Current dietary guidance calls for up to 65% of daily calories to come from carbohydrates, such as pasta.
LOW GI: Pasta has a low Glycemic Index (GI) so it does not cause blood glucose levels to rise quickly. Blood glucose is sometimes referred to as blood “sugar”.
How Pasta Fits into a Healthy Diet
Pasta makes the perfect delivery system for the healthy foods you should have each day. Pair pasta with a variety of nutrient-dense foods and create meals that you can feel good about. Nutritious and delicious “pasta partners” include:
You may have heard potential benefits of low-carbohydrate diets and some reasons to avoid bread, but bread products can be the foundation of a healthy, low-fat diet. They provide essential nutrients, and can be a satisfying component of any meal. Choose whole-grain or enriched bread products, and avoid those with added sugars or saturated fats.
MICRO-NUTRIENTS: By law, bread products made with enriched flour must be high in iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate. Iron is a component of hemoglobin in healthy red blood cells, thiamin, niacin and riboflavin are essential for energy production in your body and folate is an essential vitamin for heart health. Refined bread products made with unenriched flour do not contain substantial amounts of these nutrients.
EXTRA NUTRITION: Bread products may contain additional healthy ingredients with nutritional benefits. Many types of bread contain heart-healthy nuts or seeds, which are high in unsaturated fats, and walnuts and flaxseed even provide omega-3 fatty acids. Breads may contain dried fruit, such as raisins, cherries or cranberries, which are high in potassium and dietary fiber. Be careful not to choose breads with items that are high in saturated fat or added sugars, such as icing, cinnamon-sugar swirl or chocolate chips.