As a child and through out my teenage years I grew up eating pasta just about every day for dinner. Sometimes even for lunch as well! Coming from an Italian background it was a staple of our diet. It wasn’t until years later when I stopped eating it that I noticed how it had been effecting my body. After my usual bowl of pasta my stomach would feel incredibly bloated, I’d have an energy crash and would feel very lethargic in the hours to come. Although rice and noodles weren’t a huge staple in our diet, I still felt similar symptoms, just very gluggy in the stomach.
Pasta, rice and noodle dishes are quick and easy meals. They fill you up and they taste good. And if it wasn’t for the symptoms I just mentioned and their poor nutritional qualities, I’d probably still be eating them too. However, as with the rest of my diet, I have found a way to still eat rice, pasta and noodle dishes that are super healthy just by substituting some ingredients.
My favourite is using a julienne peeler or veggie spiralizer to make spaghetti strips out of zucchini. You can do it with carrots and lots of other veggies too. I like a combo of 2/3 zucchini and 1/3 carrot. The beauty of this is that you just throw them in with the sauce for the last minute or two and that’s plenty to cook them. It’s actually easier and faster than regular pasta.
You can use a normal veggie peeler for more of a linguini shape too.
Another favourite of mine is spaghetti squash. You cut it in half, bake it in the oven and then with a fork scrape it out. It comes out like angle hair noodles. it’s a great substitute for noodles in asian dishes.
I had heard about this one for a while but hadn’t tried it until about a month ago. I’m hooked on this one now! Cauliflower rice. You get a full cauliflower, break it into smaller pieces and pulse it in a food processor until it is the size and consistency of rice. You sauté it in a few tablespoons of coconut oil for 3 to 4 minutes and it’s done. Again quicker and easier than boiling up rice.
The beauty of these food swaps is that they are giving your meal a base that will fill you up but is purely vegetable matter, so packed full of health giving nutrition!