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A Healthier Bowl of Pasta

Whole-grain and higher-fiber pastas are healthier. But how do they taste?

More About Healthier Pasta Brands

Here are more details about these whole-grain or higher-fiber pastas:

  • Barilla Plus Penne: While this enriched multigrain pasta isn't 100% whole wheat, it contains a grain and legume flour blend, along with semolina. This blend generally includes lentils, chickpeas, oats, spelt, barley, egg whites, ground flaxseed and wheat or oat fiber. What this means is that the pasta is high in protein (from the legume flour and the egg whites,) contains some plant omega-3s (from the ground flaxseed,) and will boost your fiber significantly (thanks to the legumes, whole grains, ground flaxseed.) Cooking time for the penne variety is 11-12 minutes.
  • Westbrae Natural Organic Lasagna: The first and only ingredient is organic whole durum wheat flour. Hard to argue with that, isn't it? I love lasagna, so I've noticed over the years that it is definitely difficult to find a higher fiber lasagna noodle. So I was happy to have found this choice at Whole Foods. Yes, it's definitely whole-wheat pasta, but this fact seems to be less noticeable when it is layered in lasagna. Cooking time: 10 minutes for the lasagna.
  • Lifestream Organic Whole Grain & Flax Linguini: This pasta has the highest amount of plant omega-3s in a serving of the brands I checked out. The fiber ain't too shabby, either (8 grams per 2 ounce serving). The brand is distributed through Nature's Path Foods Inc. in Washington, and has just two ingredients: organic wheat durum flour and organic brown flax meal. Cooking time for the linguine is 7-9 minutes.
  • 365 Organic Whole Wheat Shells: Even the Whole Foods store brand is jumping on the whole-wheat pasta bandwagon. The pasta contains just organic whole durum wheat flour and water. You'll find it in assorted shapes including long narrow tubes (also known as penne). Cooking time for the shells is 14-16 minutes.
  • Trader Joe's Organic Whole Wheat Pasta Rotelle: You can find a few different shapes of whole-wheat pasta in the Trader Joe's brand, including rotelle, penne, and spaghetti. The only ingredient in this pasta is organic durum whole wheat. Cooking time is 9-11 minutes for the rotelle.

5 Healthier Pasta Survival Tips

Ready to try one of these healthier types of pasta? Here are five tips to help you make the transition:

  1. Keep trying different higher fiber pasta brands or products until you find the one you and your family enjoy most.
  2. Whole wheat or higher-fiber pastas are more appealing when served with flavorful sauces or layered (like in lasagna) with sauce, cheese, vegetables, etc.
  3. Keep in mind that some whole-wheat pastas seem to lighten in color as they cook. (I suspect this has to do with the absorption of water).
  4. You may eat a little less pasta than you normally would. The whole-wheat and higher- fiber pastas seem to be more satisfying.
  5. If you are a ravioli or tortellini lover, fear not! I've found raviolis made with whole-wheat pasta at Whole Foods Markets and other specialty food stores.

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