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All about Pasta!

Hello, I'm back from all my trips and adventuring including Cairns half iron man at the start of June and hiking 240km of the Heysen trail in SA. I decided to declare this week as a week to be all about pasta. My sister pointed me in the direction of an Instagram account all about the history of Italian food including pasta. It's called “historical Italian food” – check it out if you're interested. Yesterday, I had a pasta cook off with my sister and cooked a delicious Baked Mushroom and Taleggio Rigatoni dish. Here is the link:

But let's delve more into pasta now. Lots of clients that I see are quite fearful of pasta because it contains carbohydrates. But there really isn't any need to be fearful.

Benefits of pasta – pasta is an important wholegrain to be including in the diet in moderation. It can be included as part of your selection from the “Wholegrains” food group of the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. This food group contains Wholegrains such as bread, pasta, rice and cereals. These are low GI carbohydrates that release glucose into your blood at a slower rate than carbohydrates like cakes, lollies, biscuits, and other high sugar foods which are high GI. Wholegrains are important not only for energy but also provide fibre for a healthy gut microbiome. Pasta provides us with energy, fibre (more in wholewheat), nutrients and a small amount of protein (more in wholewheat). Types of pastas There are so many types of pastas on the supermarket shelves today, both fresh and dried, white, wholewheat, legume and gluten free varieties. I can't name them all as we may be here all day but here are the different types to choose from:

  • Fresh pasta

  • Regular white pasta dried

  • Wholegrain/Wholewheat pasta

  • Legume based- Lentil/Chickpea

  • Gluten free/alternative flour like buckwheat/brown rice or corn

  • Added protein/added fibre varieties

  • Green veggie pasta (new to Coles)

Wholewheat options are my top choice as they contain wholewheat flour that has not had the bran and germ removed during processing. This means it has more fibre, protein and nutrients. That doesn’t mean to say we can't eat white pasta from time to time. The recommended portions of white or wholewheat pasta are still the same (1 cup cooked per meal as an average but it does depend on the person, their goals and activity level). For those of you who don’t know, I'm a third generation Italian. My grandparents migrated from Italy in the 1950’s. I was born in Australia but Italian culture was a big part of my life growing up. Looking back to when I was a child and teenager, pasta was a big part of my life and it still is today. It is actually one of my most loved foods. As a child, we would have pasta about 3 times per week. What was different about it is the way we would eat it would be similar to the way it is traditionally eaten in Italy. Our pasta would be served as a small entrée portion prior to eating our main meal of protein and vegetables.

So what are my top 5 ways to pasta: 1.Portion it out. Make sure to include: 1 cup cooked pasta per meal (varies depending on age, gender and activity level) 2.Choose wholewheat as mentioned above 80% of the time and allow yourself white pasta if you feel like eating it. My suggestion- Coles/Woolies Organic Wholewheat pasta, Barilla Wholewheat, Barilla Lentil Pasta 3. Add protein- 100g protein Eg. 1 cup cooked legumes or if eating animal-based products, local sustainable beef or chicken or fish or tuna or turkey 4. Add vegetables or salad on the side (½ a plate at least) 5.Pick your sauce... Aim mostly for tomato-based sauces, include cream-based sauces 10% of the time (occasionally if and when you feel like them). Avoid jar sauces with added sugar, salt and preservatives. Make a quick sauce from scratch using canned tomatoes if you're short on time, here is a recipe link for you..... Check out our Instagram page for some pasta inspo!! I hope this has been helpful for you. As always, the advice above is advice for the general population. Dietary recommendations vary depending on age, gender, activity level and medical history. I suggest seeing an Accredited Practicing Dietitian if you would like 1:1 tailored advice. Until next time,

Mattea Palombo Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) Accredited Nutritionist (AN) Adelaide Nutrition


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