Pasta: Friend or Foe?
It’s quick to make and easy to find almost everywhere, but is a bowl of pasta your ideal training partner or is it hiding something a bit more sinister? As with everything, there are two sides to every story. So we’ve uncovered a few little nuggets of knowledge to help you make an easy decision about if, or when, you reach for a tempting bowl of pasta.
Pasta is high in carbs
First of all, pasta is ‘high’ in carbs. Well that’s the traditional knowledge anyway. But how much is ‘high’ and what does it look like in comparison with other foods also thought to be high in carbohydrates too?
The usual way to compare this is the amount of carbs per 100g of weight. On average, a bowl of pasta has around 25g of carbs per 100g of weight. Potatoes have around 17g per 100g, rice has around 28g per 100g, so even the perceived ‘healthy’ option has slightly more carbs.
Of course, all these figures are approximate, and you need carbs in order to workout efficiently. But there are ways to reduce your carbs without taking anything away from your energy levels or enjoying that tasty bowl of pasta.
Wholegrain pasta is the better option
Going wholegrain is an easy way to slightly reduce your carb intake – and it also comes with the added bonus of it being better for your metabolism. It’s less refined than its white counterpart, which means wholegrain has more protein, fibre, iron, magnesium, and zinc. And because wholegrain pasta is more filling – because it takes longer to digest wholegrains – you’re less likely to overeat.
Combine pasta with vegetables
A great way to cut down on pasta is to combine any dish with lots of vegetables. This will help you fill up on more the of good stuff and leave less room for pasta. You’ll also get a more varied array of nutrients when you include vegetables into the mix. It’s a win win situation! Here’s an amazing recipe for using up anything you have in your cupboards and also gives you a perfect pre or post Curves workout snack.
Cold Pasta Spring Salad
Prep: 10 mins - Cook: 8 mins - Ready in 18 mins
- 2 tsp finely chopped red onion
- 1 tsp capers
- 1 tbsp pesto
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 185g can of tuna
- 100g pasta shapes cooked and drained
- 3 sundried tomatoes, chopped
- The first step is to make sure you have plenty of water in your pan. Use a large, high sided saucepan and add at least 500ml, or up to 1 litre of water per 100g dried pasta. Make sure there’s still enough room at the top because you don’t want the water to bubble up and overflow.
- Bring the pan of water to the boil then add your pasta. If you like, salt the water first, or if you prefer, add a splash of olive oil.
- After about 8 mins of boiling, carefully fish a piece or strand of pasta out of the pan, allow it to cool and taste it. If it’s ready take the pasta off the heat straight away, if not give it another minute then test again.
Note: Most dried ribbons of pasta such as linguine, spaghetti and tagliatelle take between 8-10 mins. Shorter, thicker pasta shapes like bows or penne take 10-12mins and fresh pasta such as ravioli and tortellini will be done between 3-5mins.
- Mix the onion, capers, pesto and oil. Flake the tuna into a bowl with the pasta and tomatoes, then stir in the pesto mix. It’s as easy as that!