If you are looking for something healthy yet tasty to feed your kids, pasta is a great option. Here's why.
Pasta is often enriched with other minerals, and one vitamin almost all enriched pastas contain is folic acid. Folic acid is especially important for women of childbearing age, as adequate intake of folic acid helps prevent birth defects.
Study the labels on your pasta before picking it up. Is the starter grain whole or refined? Is it enriched with vitamins? Coloured pastas have added vegetable pulp, and this increases the nutritive value of the pasta and adds to the flavour. Spinach pasta is often a good choice.
Not only is pasta nutritious by itself, but one can very easily add vegetables and nuts to pasta, ensuring a well balanced, wholesome meal. Avoid opting for pasta made from flour though. Here are some of the better options.
Whole Wheat Pasta
This pasta is high in fibre and carbohydrates. Eating a plate full of pasta gives you the same, if not more, benefit of eating a chapatti. So if your children are longing for variety in their meals and cringe every time they see a plate of aaloo gobi, chapattis and daal, consider giving them a break, and opt for pasta.
Whole-wheat pasta is a high quality pasta. It is however, tougher than other varieties, and although some people like this about wheat pasta, others don't. So if your child doesn't much care for this pasta, remember, you can compensate for lower fibre in other pastas by adding more vegetables. Whole-wheat pasta is however the best pasta choice you can make, health wise.
Many swear that semolina pasta is the best combination of healthy and tasty pasta. This pasta is made from semolina or suji paste, and is rich in protein and other minerals, although it is slightly lower than durum wheat pasta in fibre. However, if you are getting your fibre from other sources like fruit and vegetables, you have little need to worry.
Is pasta fattening?
A mistaken belief is that pasta is fattening or high in cholesterol. Pasta is in fact low in fat, because the grains used to make pasta, like wheat and semolina, are lowfat. You can however make it fattening by making the wrong choices and adding the wrong foods to your pasta. Although a cheesy cream sauce may taste scrumptious, it's definitely not a smart choice especially if you are looking to cut calories or cholesterol. Choose your sauces carefully so you can reap the most benefit from pasta. If you simply love cheese, instead of opting for a cheese sauce, sprinkle a generous helping of Parmesan on your pasta.
Similarly, go easy on the oil when cooking. Your best bet would be olive oil, which is not only low in cholesterol, but complements the flavour in your pasta perfectly. Do make sure you use as little oil as possible, and steer away from butter, cream or whole milk.