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How to Make your Pasta Dish Healthier

Pasta dishes

Are you holding back on your favorite pasta dish because you fear ruining your diet? Did you know that it is not necessary? In fact, there are many ways you can modify your pasta dish to make it a healthy meal for you and your family. Instead of settling for that extra small piece of lasagna, here are some ideas even grandma can integrate into her secret recipe.


The pasta

Opt for whole-wheat pasta. With this simple switch, you can more than triple the fibre content of your pasta. This will make you feel fuller and for a longer amount of time.

The cheese

Try using lower fat cheese options, such as 0% – 2% m.f. cottage or ricotta cheese and skimmed milk mozzarella. This can help cut the calories all the while increasing the protein content. Goat cheese is another low-fat option that can add a kick of flavor without having to put a large quantity.

Try to use cheese sparingly if you are going to use a full-fat option. One ounce of parmesan cheese can add up to over 100 calories.

The sauce

If you’re going to add meat to your sauce, using extra-lean meat is a good option. Although meat makes the dish very tasty, in does increase the fat content quite a bit. Ground chicken and turkey are the leanest meats out there and could be used instead of the traditional beef.  You can even take it a step further; cut more fat by using shrimp, lentils or even tofu in your dish!

Add vegetables!

If you use vegetables to your advantage, you can easily continue to consume the same portion without all the calories, no matter which pasta dish you’re making. Vegetables are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals all the while having very little calories. Slices of zucchini can replace one layer of lasagna noodles. Adding big chunks of vegetables, such a broccoli and cauliflower, to your tortellini bowl can give the impression of more volume. Spaghetti squash can be mixed with angel hair noodles.  You can even blend spinach into the ricotta mix for that cannelloni. Feel free to add a variety of vegetables in your sauce or as a replacement for some pasta. You can never have too many vegetables!


Be creative with your pasta dishes, and you’ll find you won’t have to avoid them anymore.


Stefanie Rosser, P.Dt.

Stefanie Rosser, Dt.P.

Bsc. Nutritional Sciences, Major Dietetics, McGill University / Nutritionist at Nautilus Plus since January 2015

How to Make your Pasta Dish Healthieris a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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