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Yes to Pasta on a Diet
Low Calorie Asian Noodles
One way to cut calories is with Shirataki noodles, which contain a high amount of Glucomannan, which has been determined by Health Canada to be a positive influence on appetite reduction, weight management, treating high cholesterol and constipation although the USA does not subscribe to any medical benefits with this food. However the undisputed facts are that shirataki noodles are low in calorie with 5 to 15 calories per serving depending on the brand. They also have zero glycemic count, zero cholesterol, are kosher, vegan, and low carb. They have a soy free version and it's also gluten free sold at many Walmart stores.
Shirataki noodles or Konjac noodles are known by the slang term elephant yam, which incidentally has nothing to do with a yam or sweet potato. Actually the noodles are from the Konjac plant also known as Konjak, or Gonyak (Korean) or Pinyin (in Chinese), which has a root-like material called a corm which produces this yam-cake called konnyaku. The noodle it makes is often found in soups and the Japanese hot pot dishes like Sukiyaki and Shabu Shabu. The noodle can be somewhat manipulated by draining the noodles very well through a colander or strainer and toasting them with a little pan frying until you hear a little hissing. Then they will not be so wet and can be put in other recipes.
Skinny Noodles brand makes a spinach fettuccine and kale spaghetti flavor and both are soy free. Nasoya is another brand as seen in the picture above, as well as Miracle Noodle, which makes a Ziti shaped soy free, non-tofu kind of shirataki. Zero Slim and Healthy Noodles is another brand as well as Smart Noodle Shirataki by House Foods. All are in the refrigerated section of your grocer. Some have placed this in dairy, while others have stocked it in produce and still others have in the non-meat cold aisle near wonton wrappers and egg roll sheets. Shirataki noodles are found at Walmart, Wegmans, Jet.com and Thrive Market (online). All of these are considered low calorie, low cholesterol and vegan, but with fiber as a benefit and some have added Omega3s or fortified them with iron. There are those with and without soy.
Kroger Reduced-Cal Pasta
Reduced Calorie Pasta
Kroger makes a reduced calorie pasta with only one hundred and fifty calories per serving. This is 50 to 70 calories lower than most regular durum wheat pastas and rice pastas that are between 200 and 210 calories. It is also 30 calories less than whole wheat pasta and bean pastas for the same serving size. It also has 6 times the fiber of most durum pastas. Their spaghetti and penne shaped pastas are only sold through Kroger grocery stores. This should make people happy knowing that since the Ronzoni 150 reduced calorie pasta was discontinued, that there is someone else filling this void.
Pasta Alternatives Low-Cal
An alternative to pasta could be Kelp noodles made from seaweed, which supposedly doesn't taste like seaweed. The noodles are translucent and crunchy but softens easily in broths and stir fry. Snacks like seaweed flavored crisps are showing up in health food stores, so the next big thing could be these noodles. These are also low calorie, low in carbs, gluten free and fat free. There is no cooking necessary, whereas they are ready to eat, and as a raw item are perfect for those on a raw food diet. Gold Mine's brand has qualified as Kosher, and their kelp noodles also fit in nicely with Vegan and Macrobiotic diets as well. Additionally, Gold Mine makes a Konaberry Kelp Noodle that has more antioxidants than acai, pomegranate, and blueberries but without the buzz you get in caffeinated coffee from the Konaberry. Note that the noodles need to be refrigerated after opening. These are available at many health food stores and online at Walmart and the Gold Mine website.
Paleo and Low Carb Pasta
1.) Food for Life makes a sprouted whole grain pasta that is not only low glycemic but also low in carbs, while still being high in protein. Most wheat pastas are 41 grams of carbohydrates, but Food for Life's Ezekiel 4:9 Pasta has 39 carbs with 7 grams of dietary fiber, so after using the fiber to offset the carbs, you have an effective carb count (ECC) of only 32. The ingredients are organic, vegan and gluten tolerant. That's because many gluten sensitive people find that they can tolerate sprouted grains which naturally metabolizes carbohydrates, starch, and gluten protein based on the enzymes activated during the sprouting process. The pastas are also yeast free, thereby being kind for those patients diagnosed with candida. Sprouted grains also aid patients in increasing digestion, lowering cholesterol, and lowering blood sugar. This pasta is sold in a variety of shapes in most retail chain grocery stores and health food stores in the USA and soon to be sold in the United Kingdom (U.K).
2.) Jovial makes a 100% organic whole grain Einkorn pasta that is lower in carbs and high in protein, which is an amazing feat considering it is wheat pasta. This is however not just any wheat, but Einkorn wheat, which is an ancient grain and is not hybridized like most other pastas which are generally made of Durum wheat or Kamut. This pasta has more tocols, carotenoids, and Lutein antioxidant than other species of wheat pasta and a higher ORAC or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. It is high in fiber, iron, trace minerals and certain B vitamins. This company is also allergen conscience, whereas the whole grain facility is free of dairy, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, corn, fish, and shellfish. This pasta is also kosher, and acceptable to vegans and vegetarians. The net carbs is 32 grams. Jovial also makes a rice pasta that is gluten free.
3.) Some rice ramen noodles with miso soups are lower in carbs for both most pasta and most soups on the market. Lotus Foods makes a millet and brown rice ramen with a flavor packet of red miso broth to add to it. The ramen by Lotus is organic, non-GMO, Kosher, Vegan, Gluten free and ready in just 4 minutes. It also contains 25% less sodium than most ramen soups and is heart healthy. Not all their rice products are this low in carbohydrates, but this one pictured here is the lowest of the low in order to make the grade here.
4.) Explore Asian brand has many pastas that you can research by type of diet, including a section on bean pastas, but for the purposes of this section I am focusing on low carbs. They make a red adzuki bean pasta that's good with a mushroom sauce. It is high in protein, rich in iron and the fiber is 15 grams per serving, which is more than double than the high carb wheat pasta. Using the high fiber content to offset the carbs, makes this pasta have a net carb count of 11 carbs. The product is organic, vegan, kosher parve, and also gluten free. It cooks al dente and is available at Walmart online, Amazon and many health food stores.
Low Glycemic Pasta
If Asian cuisine is your thing, then Kame or Ka-Me brand makes both a stir fry Soba Noodle and a stir fry Thai Rice noodle that is low to medium-low on the Glycemic Index (GI). The Thai Rice noodle pictured right is also lower in carbs, and has a fair amount of protein. Although the label lends you to believe that it is gluten free, it is not whereas it uses both rice flour mixed with wheat flour. It also is not organic, but if the other pastas this page are not to your liking, this could be an alternative, and they are diabetic friendly due to the lower GI, which means they are digested slowly preventing sugar spikes. This page shows the ingredients and nutritional facts in this Ka-me stir fry rice noodle. Most of their products are not this low in carbs, so I only picked two of their products to feature.
Tolerant foods makes a red lentil pasta that is low on the glycemic index and high in protein. The product is organic, Non-GMO certified and preservative-free. It also is low in fat, high in fiber, vegan and has met the criteria for Kosher designation. Tolerant Foods is a nut free facility so its kind to those with nut allergies and is also gluten free. Normally most legumes (the bean family) would be avoided by those on a Paleo diet, however a new study has found lentils to have a positive effect for diabetics. That's because the low 5% of Readily Digestible Starch (RDS), combined with the high levels of Slowly Digested Starch (SDS) 30%, make lentils important to people with diabetes. Those facts coupled with the benefit of the remainder of 65% is a resistant starch that is classified RS1,, which is 32% amylose, so while the carbs are somewhat high, the glycemic index is low. This pasta is a great way to substitute wheat pasta macaroni and cheese with red lentil pasta mac and cheese and your kids will get the equivalent of a cup of vegetables. It is also equivalent to 6oz of meat. They also make a black bean pasta. Both are available at most of the Costco stores, on Amazon (even Canada now), most Kroger stores and specialty health foods stores. This does have the consistency of gnocchi or a potato pasta, if you are into that kind of thing.
Gluten Free Pasta
Gluten free pastas have the largest selection of pastas available for those on a special diet. Many people who watch carbs that are on Paleo diets, also like to limit their gluten intake, even though they may not be gluten-intolerant.
The non-organic are more readily available at large grocery store chains, like Walmart, Kroger, and Publix instead of warehouse clubs like Sam's Club. One such brand is Heartland found at Walmart is readily available in a corn-rice blend and the color looks pale yellow just like regular wheat pasta in order to fool your family and friends.
Delallo makes a corn-rice blended Orzo,which is an Italian short-cut pasta in the shape of a long grain of rice. It is perfect for minestrone soups and stuffed peppers or even a stand alone side dish.
Another readily available pasta found at most Kroger stores is a stone milled non-GMO pasta from Hodgson Mill. The gluten free pasta is made from brown rice flour and golden milled flaxseed (flax seed).
One can always try Gnocchi, which is an Italian potato pasta. Delallo makes theirs from 85% potato and rice flour making it both gluten-free and wheat free.
Annie Chun's makes 2 varieties of gluten free pasta selling both a rice pasta and brown rice noodles in both Pad Thai and Maifun. Tinyada brand also makes a brown rice pasta in spaghetti style noodles.
Gluten free pastas have so many styles, shapes, and food blended items that surely one can find something they like among the corn pastas, rice pastas, corn-rice blends, potato pastas, bean pastas and ancient grain pastas. Some are organic and vegan so people on these diets often buy these products too.
A few other gluten free pasta brands are Rizopia, Rustichella D'Abruzzo, Sam Mills, and Trader Joe's market, who sells their own brand.
Organic non-GMO Pasta
Ancient Harvest makes gluten free organic super-grain pastas from a corn and quinoa blend, a quinoa and bean blend, or a quinoa and lentil blend. This brand is a little harder to find in most grocery stores, but would be worth it since it is non-GMO, Kosher and very low sodium. The organic pasta may need to be purchased online or at specialty health food stores that are pricey.
True Roots spelled as truRoots makes a gluten free pasta, but they are one of the brands that are hard to get with the exception of Amazon sales. Perhaps this will change as the demand for their pastas grow. Sometimes I can find this at the larger Kroger stores. Their product in many noodle shapes are non-GMO and Kosher too and one of the first to be a 4 blend pasta from Amaranth, Quinoa, Corn, and Brown Rice. Although Ronzoni gluten free and non-GMO in the yellow box is also a 4 blended pasta and easier to get locally if you are willing to sacrifice the organic requirement.
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