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Use Your Noodles!

While zoodles’ (zucchini noodles) are popular among the low-carb diet folks, good old-fashioned noodles aren’t going anywhere. Noodles are an inexpensive, versatile, complex carbohydrate that is enjoyed across the globe. And they should be.

Noodle 101

The noodle has come a long way. While noodles originated in China, Italy is often cited as their birthplace. Pasta comes in all shapes and sizes and may be made from various grains including wheat, rice, corn, and quinoa.

Traditional noodles or pasta is made from durum or semolina wheat. What we typically eat in the US is refined white pasta that’s enriched with thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, and iron. Higher fiber, whole wheat varieties are available and provide three times the fiber of traditional pasta. In addition, for those following a gluten-free diet, new forms of pasta made from beans, lentils, or soy may be incorporated into their diets.

Health Benefits

Though people may frown on white pasta, it’s still a complex carbohydrate that provides energy, B vitamins, and trace minerals. For people dealing with food insecurity, it may be the only pasta they have. Whole grain, 100% whole wheat, or legume-based pasta provides more fiber, vitamin E, selenium, and zinc.

Consuming whole grain pasta may aid in appetite reduction. A few small studies have indicated that post-prandial appetite is reduced with the intake of whole-grain pasta versus white pasta. Satiety was improved and the desire to eat was lower in whole grain pasta eaters in some studies.

New forms of pasta made of beans are a good choice for individuals wanting a gluten-free option or more fiber. A recent study also found that pasta made with legumes contained higher phenol, antioxidant, and fiber content than traditional pasta. The glycemic index of lentil and legume pasta was also lower.


There are so many fun ways to use pasta, how to count them all? Here’s a start:

  • For starters, choose whole grain or whole wheat pasta when you have the option.
  • Use whole-wheat soba noodles in soup with lots of vegetables and broth.
  • Make pasta salad with rotini or spiral noodles. Add spinach, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and avocado with olive oil and lemon juice vinaigrette.
  • Toss pasta in pesto with cannellini or Navy beans for a delicious meatless meal.
  • Use whole-wheat couscous in place of rice in soup.
  • Add leftover macaroni to your tuna, chicken, or egg salad to stretch it.
  • Try lentil or legume-based pasta in your next dish. You may like it!
  • Make ramen with fresh ramen noodles topped with plenty of veggies, broth, and lean protein.

DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information is for informational purposes and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any illness. Consult a physician before taking any action.

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