The “net carbohydrates” listed on a product can be misleading because your body will likely breakdown some of those dietary fiber grams into glucose.
“Net carbs is a term that food manufacturers coined,” explains Jennifer Okemah, MS, RD, BCADM, CDE CSSD.
“The human body does not calculate ‘net carbs.’ The intestinal lining does, in fact, absorb some fibers. That being said, higher intact fiber has many benefits on satiety, blunting the blood sugar spikes and lowering cholesterol. Just remember, when dosing your insulin or measuring your blood sugar, that the gut does not do math and come up with ‘net carbs’.”
Okay, let’s take a look at these tasty pasta alternatives to highly processed wheat:
This one is my favorite, for sure. It cooks in 7 minutes (just bring the water to boil, turn the heat off, dump the pasta in, and wait). It’s made entirely of non-GMO soybeans. And the taste and texture both rock. I’ve fed this to a variety of picky-eaters and they all loved it. Especially if you cover it in a tasty sauce, but honestly, I like it with just butter, parmesan, and celery salt. This one is the best.
Okay, this pasta looks weird — it’s black and snake-like — but cooks in less than 7 minutes and only carries about 5 grams of carbohydrates in a serving after subtracting the fiber. It’s made from black beans and water, so the ingredients are a thumbs-up when it comes to whole-food ingredients. The taste is obviously different than traditional pasta, but the flavor is really pretty mild and delicious, in my opinion. Give it a try!
These are similar to the “shirataki” noodles you may have tried that comes in a funky package of smelly water, but this Skinny Pasta is better. Made from the “konjac” plant, it carries 9 calories and 3.5 grams of fiber per serving. While they do come in a pouch of liquid to preserve freshness, it’s easy to rinse off, and simply heat-up anyway you’d like to. You can also get them in different styles of spaghetti, lasagna, and fettuccine. The texture can feel a little rubbery compared to other options, but for nearly zero calories, it’s fun to experiment with. The only thing to keep in mind is that you do need to eat some calories! So make sure you pair this pasta with other real food ingredients in order to feel satisfied at the end of your meal.
Spiralized Zucchini, Gluten-Free
This is a do-it-yourself option but it’s pretty darn easy with a very affordable spiralizer on Amazon. This is a very healthy and tasty option that I’d personally recommend making with a carbonara-like sauce! An important step when it comes to zucchini noodles, however, is getting some of the excess water out by roasting the noodles in the oven beforehand. This doesn’t take long — even just 10 to 20 minutes on a pan lined with tin-foiled and non-stick spray at 300 degrees. Then you’ll want to sautee them in pan with your favorite sauce, herbs, butter, and salt! Add some other veggies or meatballs, and you’ve got Italian night without all the starch.
Chopped Green Cabbage, Gluten-Free
This is a very easy, tasty, and healthy alternative to pasta. Cabbage can easily be chopped into strips and steamed or sauteed with a dab of olive oil or butter. (This takes minutes!) Add some salt and whatever else you would’ve put on your pasta, and I guarantee it’ll be tasting and filling! By the way, even though green cabbage looks a lot like iceberg lettuce it does contain more carbohydrates than that salad. It also contains much more fiber than iceberg lettuce!
What’s your favorite take on pasta night?