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FAHSKY SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (448)
Posts: 35
1/3/12 2:48 A

@ANARIE - I hadn't noticed a Smart Taste Ronzoni at my grocery. We have limited selection of a lot of stuff in Hawaii, its kind of a bummer. I'll look for it for my saucy pastas! And haha, my boyfriend is ALWAYS hungry. He's got a bottomless stomach, but someone its stayed flat while mine's ballooned out. lol

@SUNNYSIDE1234 - Oh wow, another kitchen gadget to add to my list! :D I like to take Lean Cuisines w/ a salad for lunch on campus.

SUNNYSIDE1234 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 76
1/2/12 9:31 P

They sell a plastic circle with holes cut out that tell you the portion size as you put the uncooked spaghetti through the holes.

Also, sometimes when I'm short on time, I'll grab a Lean Cuisine - pasta and add veggies and/or if I'm trying to watch calories only do 1/2 of the meal and add other ingredients.

ANARIE Posts: 13,185
1/2/12 7:11 P

One other tip? If you're dividing meals 1/3 to you and 2/3 to boyfriend, tell him he's supposed to get 2/3 and have HIM do the dividing and serving. And make sure he's hungry!

ANARIE Posts: 13,185
1/2/12 7:08 P

A digital scale is pretty much a "must." You can get a perfectly acceptable one for under $15.

As for the pasta, Ronzoni has a third option. Their "Smart Taste" brand looks and tastes exactly like white pasta, but it has quite a bit more protein and fiber from garbanzo and soy flour, and it has extra calcium (300mg per 2-oz serving.) The veggie one isn't really all that much more nutritious than white pasta, and since you usually serve pasta with tomato sauce (2-4 veggie servings per cup) and other veggies, the eensy bit of extra vitamins from dried veggie powder in the pasta isn't a huge priority. And where I shop, it's really close in price to the store-brand generic pasta-- maybe 2 cents more per serving if you don't have a coupon.

FAHSKY SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (448)
Posts: 35
1/2/12 6:49 P

Wow, I wasn't aware the dry pasta & cooked pasta portions were different! So I should half my dry pasta portion to really get to the 1/4 plate ratio! Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

Next time I'm shopping, I think I'm going to pick up a slicer & a scale, since I have neither - my kitchen is very, very basic because I'm a very, very bad cook. lol

1/2/12 9:55 A

Thanks for sharing the ingredient listing from the box. This is a big help.
It does appear that the fiber amount and vitamin A amount is primarily coming from the wheat and the dried veggies in the pasta (not just added in through supplemental forms--this is good). The wheat flour is an enriched wheat flour and that is why you see iron, folic acid and several B-vitamins added; including that "thiamin word".

Regarding serving size. A standard serving in the "world of nutrition" for pasta is 1/2 cup cooked = about 80 calories = about 15 grams of carbohydrate. This is what is used in the Choose My Plate eating plan (1/4 your plate covered with a grain), Carbohydrate Counting for diabetes eating plan, and other well known eating plans. So when the box indicates a serving as 2 ounces dry, that is really about 2 1/4 servings of cooked pasta. It is fine to have a larger portion---just work it into your calorie amount. This amount would be covering at least 1/2 of a 9-inch diameter plate.

Hope this helps

1/1/12 10:48 P

Comparing the two, they are pretty close. There is a teeny bit more sodium and a little bit less fiber in the veggie pasta, but it looks like either is a decent choice.

As Becky says, number one is portion size - it's really, really easy to over-serve yourself pasta. My most valuable health tool is absolutely my kitchen scale. You can get them pretty cheap, and it makes a huge difference in feeling like you are in control of your portion sizes. You can estimate a portion by eying it or using your fingers, or you can weigh it out, it takes only a few extra seconds, and then you're sure that you've got the right portion. I don't weight out everything I eat, but when it's something like pasta that's really easy to overestimate, it's worth taking an extra ten seconds to weigh it.

I also agree with putting veggies in your pasta. You don't need a mandolin slicer - slice it up finely with a knife, or you can use the large side of a box shredder or the shredding disk in a food processor, or even a few pulses in a decent blender. It may not come out exactly the same as a mandolin, but it gets the job done. Sliced up mushrooms also make a great addition to most pastas, and have a nice, hearty, meaty feel.

Edited by: CONQUERGRAVITY at: 1/1/2012 (22:50)
NIRERIN Posts: 14,249
1/1/12 10:33 P

personally i don't. i cook the pasta, drain it, toss in the raw squash, then add whatever sauce i am using. i like my squash on the crisper side, so the leftover heat from the pasta and the sauce is gets it just done enough for me. but i also really dislike the texture of overcooked squash. if i didn't i would try adding in the squash to the pasta water to blanche it for the last minute or so [if that's how long it takes squash to blanche].

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,458
1/1/12 8:22 P

The Ronzoni Garden delight pasta does claim to have some vegetables. I think you get a half serving of vegetables per two ounces. (not 100% certain) You could add the squash and zucchini to make it a whole serving.

I don't really like the whole wheat pasta either. So I might stick to the garden delight and add the squash.

@NIRERIN, how long do you cook the squash?

FAHSKY SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (448)
Posts: 35
1/1/12 6:46 P

@NIRERIN - That is a really excellent suggestion! Squash & zucchini are high on my list of favorite veggies, & I usually eat them with pasta anyway. I don't have a mandolin, I'm looking at slicers on Amazon now.

@DIETITIANBECKY - Definitely, I find it hard to judge how much pasta is one serving (2 oz). I usually measure spaghetti noodles by making a 1 inch-ish circle with my fingers & calling it 6 oz; I'll have 1/3rd of the noodles, & my boyfriend eats the other 2/3rds. I use that for 1/4 of my plate, 1/4 to chicken or shrimp/fish, then fill the other 1/2 w/ veggies. I'm not patient enough to actually weigh everything I eat, so I go by how much of a medium-small dinner plate it fills & eyeing stuff.

Walmart lists the ingredients in the Ronzoni pasta here:
Semolina (Wheat); Durum Flour (Wheat); Dried Carrot; Dried Tomato; Dried Spinach; Niacin; Iron (Ferrous Sulfate); Thiamin Mononitrate; Riboflavin; Folic Acid.

I have no clue what Thiamin Mononitrate is, so I'm going to Google it! lol

Edited by: FAHSKY at: 1/1/2012 (18:47)
1/1/12 4:54 P

The key thing with pasta...regular, whole wheat or this veggie variety to make sure you are using portion sizes that fit within your SP calorie and carbohydrate ranges.

To say that the veggie pasta is a better nutritional choice than whole wheat is hard to determine by the website. I can not locate an ingredient list. If someone sees this, please share the link.
Things that I question are statements like: "a full serving of vegetables in every plate". A plate full of pasta! How much is this? Could be huge. Is the 4 grams of fiber from the actual dried veggies or a fiber supplement. Is the 25% of vitamin A from the dried veggies or from a supplement. I can;t determine any of this unless I see the ingredient listing.

Dietitian Becky

NIRERIN Posts: 14,249
1/1/12 4:51 P

if you have a mandolin and a zucchini or a squash, you can cut down on pasta even further. just slice the squash longways and make sure you use the little plate that has the dividers so that you end up with ribbons or linguine-like pieces of squash. then cook less pasta and mix the squash with the noodles, then add your sauce. you can get in another serving of veggies, have more sauce and less pasta for just about the same taste.

and arguably most pastas are pretty close to the same. i think the only thing different that the garden kind has is a little bit of pureed veggie. as long as you aren't eating a whole boxful in one sitting, you're good, and that's especially true if you're using the pasta as a vehicle for other things [like veggies].

FAHSKY SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (448)
Posts: 35
1/1/12 4:12 P

Thanks for the advice! I'm glad to hear I can cut out the whole wheat pasta - the veggie pasta just has a better flavor/texture, its worth the extra calories IMO!

I understood the win/lose analogy, sorry if it offends anyone.

AILEBBELIA SparkPoints: (13,418)
Fitness Minutes: (4,362)
Posts: 3,171
1/1/12 3:26 P

"Starch = lose."

That's like really triggering to people with eating disorders.

It feeds into the disorder thinking that you are a loser if you eat a starch.

Edited by: AILEBBELIA at: 1/1/2012 (15:27)
BEARCLAW6 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (15,376)
Posts: 1,939
1/1/12 3:10 P

OMG no. You do not need the whole grain in any form at all. People suggest whole grain as a healthier alternative to white pasta because it digests slightly slower (so turns into glucose slightly slower) and generally has more vitamins and fiber. Please feel free to do anything you want that increases the veggie content in your day and decreases the simple starch content. Veggies = win. Starch = lose.

FAHSKY SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (448)
Posts: 35
1/1/12 3:06 P

Hi guys! I love pasta, & I usually eat 2 to 4 servings a day (yikes). I'm re-starting Spark & ditching white pasta for whole wheat, again. I really love veggie-based pasta, like Ronzoni's Garden Delight, because it tastes better & doesn't have that weird pastey consistency of whole wheat (especially since I'm not the best cook). I'm just curious if I need to eat the whole grain for some reason over the veggie pasta - I'm comparing the nutritional info on Ronzoni's, & it looks almost identical except for 10 calories more in veggie pasta per serving.
TIA for your input guys!

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